Gracie is BUSY! Each day is full of her repeatedly taking our hands, leading us somewhere (even if it is just to the other room) and saying “C’mon guys!” Every “C’mon guys! Adventure” is really about Grace exploring her world— tasting, touching, smelling, hearing, and seeing…. But I think touching is the favorite! (And sometimes the most problematic!)
We recently took Grace to the park to feed the ducks. As we walked toward the pond she held our hands tugging us along saying “C’mon guys! Wanna feed da ducks? C’mon Mama, c’mon Daddy, feed da’ ducks!” If laughter and gleeful squeals were bottled medicine, this would be the dose we are all looking for! Doug and I sat in a mist of joy, surrounded by ducks squabbling, begging like puppies, and quacking insistently for more bread crumbs, while Grace laughed, squealed and talked a lot of gibberish intertwined with the frequently discernable, “I’m ‘a feed da’ ducks! Hiiiii Ducks! Wanna’ Eat?? Hiiiii Ducks! What are you doing? Wheeee! Duckies wanna splash in ‘a waters?” What a moment!
Every time Grace says “C’mon guys!” even if I am “busy” I try to stop what I’m doing and enjoy a moment of exploration with her. Life isn’t a checklist of things to do, I remind myself. There is this joy in the responsibility of getting to walk someone through life and experience it through their eyes.
With Grace’s first duck encounter she had no fear. She walked right up and touched them, fed them right out of her hands and laughed. It reminded me of a talk by Leo Buscaglia where he commented on being “brailed” by a blind person who placed their hands on his face and through touch became intimately joined with his every pore. That experience was like an intimate connection for him, and he commented on how the sense of touch is so important to human kind. Buscaglia linked this experience with another where he watched a family at the park. Their small toddler waddled off trying to “brail” a duck. The little guy just had to connect with his fine-feathered friend! Like the blind man wanted to “see” Leo, the toddler wanted to “see” the duck. Of course we have all heard the famous: “You see with your eyes, not with your hands!” But is that really true?
There is something about the sense of touch that almost supersedes the other senses. How many times have we been somewhere and seen the sign: “Do not touch.” And what is our first inclination? We want to touch it! No matter what “it” is! And sometimes, if we can get away with a “sneak touch” we reach out and put our hands on the forbidden. Why???? Because it is just not REAL to us until we can touch it, get our hands on it and really feel it. The abstraction becomes a tangible connection. If you can touch it, you can really experience it, you can know it.
I love Timothy Keller’s Wisdom Series talk about Knowing God. To really know him you have to experience him. You have to get a hold of him, connect with him. You have to feel his love. You can believe in God, but that does not mean you know him. Just believing in God means he is but an abstraction to us. To know Him we have to get a hold of him and experience his guidance, his provision, his discipline and most of all his love. We have to get close to him and let him touch our daily living, our thoughts, our hearts, our very lives.
I know there are times in my life when I feel Jesus so intensely it is like he is right there with his arms wrapped around me… and there are other times when God feels so far away that I gasp for air, my heart empty inside. Usually, those are the times I have gotten “busy” in the world, allowing the “tyranny of the urgent” to run rough-shod over my existence, when I am too busy to sit and talk to God, open my Bible for even a morsel of feeding from His word, or sit in church for a sermon… after all, I have things to do!!!!!
But I know when I neglect these things, and I let the “world” rule the roost, that is when I let go of God. And, when I let go of God, the potential for letting my life go to the dogs increases with the growing gap between us. But, when I have a hold of Him, and I feel his hand on me, when I make my relationship with him and my time devoted to him “non-negotiable,” then the joy, order and peace in my life does not compare. Those three exist with constant stability, even amongst whatever chaos seems to be raining down at the time.
What is knowing God? To know him we have to connect with him. Like one of my mentors, Bill, says: “God takes the time to talk to those who take the time to talk to him!” So like any relationship, we really know the people we invest our time in, listen to, and embrace.
To know God we have to connect with him… It’s time to pray…
To know Him we must experience Him… . It’s time to worship…
To know him we need to touch him… It’s time to put our hands and our eyes on his word…
Of course this is not a check-list of “do these things” and, BOOM, we get a relationship with God. We have to approach each of these, and him with an open heart… seeking, asking, wanting—- no, aching to know the one true God.
We have to let Him touch us…
He won’t be REAL until we do.
So I say: “C’mon guys!” Let’s get a hold of God and see Jesus!