I’ve shared this story before, years ago; I think…but it’s one of my favorites. It comes to mind just about every time I watch a soccer game (of which I’ve had plenty opportunity this fall).
Now, if I may switch gears; I’d like to talk about the still, small voice of God. I promise to connect the dots with the soccer game in just a bit. But here’s the deal: You are a work in progress. I am a work in progress. And the beautiful thing is that we don’t go it alone. God is working on us. He has given us His Spirit to lead, direct, counsel, motivate, correct and cheer us on. He “speaks” to us. The Holy Spirit guides us in our ways and thoughts. The Lord is near. Listen for His still, small voice. It may come as conviction over a certain sin, or a call to take action or an assurance of His love.
I had such a moment. It was about seven years ago on a Sunday afternoon. It was not an audible voice from above (“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”) or anything like that. I was in the stands, high above looking down on the field at CBC High School watching my (at the time) nine-year-old redhead play soccer. Kate was somewhat new to the game – not an all-star or anything, but she has this competitive, feisty spirit that comes out once in awhile and its fun to watch.
I brought a book to the game but I might as well have used it as a seat cushion because my mind’s focus was on my child. I just love that kid. That’s what I kept thinking to myself. I just love that kid. It wasn’t because of what she was doing. She didn’t score any goal. She just seem to run around a lot. She would get knocked down and get right back up. Determined. She did some good things and some not so good things. Sometimes, she just stood there, but it didn’t matter. I loved her simply because of who she was. I took great delight in just watching her…be her. It was like she was the only one on the field. I could’ve watched her all day.
I just love that kid. I kept thinking that to myself. I just love that kid. I was welling up on that thought of just how much I love her and how life would be empty without her and how proud I was of her. I wasn’t expecting that.
Then something else happened which I didn’t see coming. I was a Holy Spirit thing I guess. The thought came to mind that while I’m watching her from up above, God is watching me and He is saying something to me, like…
You know, I love you like that. While you do your thing, I watch you. I see you get knocked down and get back up. I see you do good things and some not so good things – but my love is not dependent upon that. My heart is full of love for you because of who you are to me. And what you are feeling for your little redhead just scratches the surface of the way I feel about you.
What a moment that was. Obviously, I haven’t forgotten it. It is a beautiful thing to realize and be reminded of – that God not only loves us…he even likes us. He takes delight in us. Kindof a mind-bender, but its true! Because of Jesus, we are pleasing in Our Father’s sight. His love is not caught up in our successes or failures. His love is perfect. We are loved unconditionally because…because of grace, because we’re his…because. Listen. Be still. Know his heart. I just love that kid.
Chuck Schlie serves as Associate Pastor and Head of School at Messiah Lutheran. As a father of 5 and over 25 years of ministry experience, he writes about faith, family and occasionally…fun!