He’s almost three. Part baby. Part man. He still runs to mummy when he gets hurt. But he also runs into the power of having choice and control and adventure. I love this age. Cute, spunky and he says the most glorious things. This is the age I’d like to freeze him in forever. Except, a fully potty-trained version. If magic was real, that’s what I’d use it for. Instant toilet skills.
For Halloween (whether I like it or not), we went to a Fall Festival and a Mall. He wore a Lightening McQueen baseball style shirt. Everyone asked if he was Babe Ruth. This Australian doesn’t even know who that is.
“I’m a RACE CAR DRIVER!” He replied with a frustrated guttural man-cry every time.
With a little white paper bag in his hands, he shuffled along the trick-or-treat trail. It was a long line of kids and parents. A zoo. But he patiently waited. Taking small sweet steps. Enjoying the journey.
Then came the moment of candy. At first he didn’t know what to do.
“Here’s how it works, kid.” The clown/cowboy man with a big bowl of candy explained. “You open your bag and I put candy in it.”
Lesson learned. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. Open bag. Candy goes in. Repeat.
Suddenly he was all too bold about it. He had courage and confidence and thorough trust. The math was simple and absolute. Bowl-holding adult + open bag = Receive candy.
His beautiful and thorough trust has stirred my heart. And I’m asking my heart about my faith.
Do I expect good things from God?
Do I walk to Him with my hands open to receive?
Do I trust He will fill my life with good?
Yes, I hear you. It’s not that simple. It’s not simple at all. We all have stories of waiting in that place of expectation for way longer than we anticipated. Some have stories of waiting even still. And we all have stories of our dreams and hopes dying. Some have stories of babies dying. And we all wrestle with defining “good” in a way that doesn’t hinge on our craving for comfort. Some wrestle with believing that even a taste of comfort is possible in their life. It is the least simple thing I know.
And yet, I’m utterly entranced by the simplicity of my son’s bold bag opening and expectant receiving.
Then something major happened. A candy bowl-holding adult didn’t see him. My little man stood there watching taller children receive while he did not. The adult went back to chatting to their companion and my sweet baby stood there looking up with his bag held open. I watched the penny drop. He worked it out pretty fast. The candy wasn’t coming. I waited for the devastation to hit. I waited for him to loose all confidence. This mumma got ready to intervene.
He simply moved on.
He walked cheerfully to the next candy bowl holder and held out his open bag like nothing had happened. Undeterred. Full of faith in the promise of candy. And candy was poured into his open bag. Just like all the other times. Not at all like the one time.
I am not like that.
I tend to hold on to disappointments. I tend to forget the hundred amazing days and remember the one terrible one. I forget the seasons of provision and mercy. I forget the blessings and abundance. I forget the full and overflowing. And I hold on to the memories of when He seemed to not care. My heart cringes to even write those words. I am so petulant. The sight of my own heart is grievous to me. How could I have indulged my attitude and allowed my heart to tend to become this way?
Here’s the Truth: He has never failed me. Ever. Amidst deep grief and disappointment and loss and loneliness and darkness and lack and pain and questions… He has never failed me. His arms held me. He caught my tears. He grieved with me. He sustained me. He strengthened me. And He delivered me. Even in the slightest ways. Because, here I am, still living. Still dreaming. Still walking. Not just surviving. Each day contains glory. Sometimes a drop on my parched lips. Sometimes a waterfall that envelopes me. Most days just enough that I would know Him and want to know Him more. Quenching my thirst and stirring my desire for another day. God is good. I can expect good things from Him. I should. I will. I am willing to. Willing to hold open my bag of hope and expect.
Snack-sized candy is a new standing stone in my life. A remembrance to expect Yahweh’s goodness. I want to live life like my son lives for Halloween candy. In simple and beautiful expectation. The opposite is a terrible shame. How terrible it is for a candy bag to be left closed and away. How terrible for candy to be left in a bowl when it could have been received. Here’s my bag, Father! I’m open to receiving whatever you have for me. I know it will be good. For You are good. Selah.
With all my heart I wait for the LORD to help me. I put my hope in his word. I wait for the Lord to help me. I wait with more longing than those on guard duty wait for the morning. I’ll say it again. I wait with more longing than those on guard duty wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because the LORD’s love never fails. He sets his people completely free. (Psalm 130:5-7 NIrV)