Sunday, June 9, 2013

As a father carries his son

Papa & Watts, the day after he was born.
One of the heart-wrenching parts of having a really sick child is the immense feeling of helplessness in watching and waiting. Deep rooted in the heart of parents is this instinct to protect and comfort their children. That feeling is deepened and its weight multiplied when the child is defenseless and sick. I've been thinking about this picture of me and Watts on the day after he was born; how small he was and completely dependent on Hannah and me. I remember it with Piper, too. When she was born, I had this spontaneous and surprisingly clear feeling: I would give my life up for this child, no questions asked. It's more than love at first sight– it's complete dedication at first sight, running deeper than instincts even of self-preservation. The love of a father for his children. It changed my life and softened up these places in my heart that had grown hard. It's what made me write THIS SONG for Piper and THIS ONE for Watts, and it has been changing my perspective about everything ever since.

I remember reading about a father who pushed his disabled son on long races and triathlons, even carrying him for portions. In some ways, I feel like Watts and I are on that path, at least for a few years. Don't get me wrong, Hannah and I are partnered in it, of course. Piper is already seeming to cheer him on. And we've got an incredible community supporting us. But he just has one papa who is going to always be in his corner of the ring; always going to be willing to pick him up and carry him for the last mile of the race. A few days ago I read this beautiful passage in the old testament in the Bible– I may have seen this in the past, but I don't remember– where God describes himself with the same imagery. He's talking to his people, who are afraid, and says this to them:

The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

So I've been thinking about this a lot. Not in order to make some profound spiritual point, but thinking about Watts and how much I love him and would do anything for him, and how thankful I am to know a God who relates to his people the same way. There are lots of other father/son pictures in the scriptures, of course (and the entire christian gospel is based on the idea that God's own son was given up so that we would be adopted), but for this week, the Father who carries his sons has been a comfort and relief to this papa's soul.


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