My twenty-one month old grandson, Oliver, while possessing only a limited verbal repertoire, is an excellent communicator. The other day, he grabbed my finger, which means, “I need something from you.” When I dutifully stood up, he lifted his arms up, signaling, “Pick me up.” Done. Then he pointed to the light switch and said something resembling “Light?” After a few magical moments of mastering the light switch, he was satisfied and wiggled of toward the next adventure.
Oliver does all of this so earnestly and winsomely that he is simply impossible to resist.
It must be frustrating to be three feet tall with an eye-level panorama consisting of the underside of counters, door knobs and tantalizing objects on coffee tables. He can’t reach many of the fascinating features of an average home, and many of those he can reach get moved as soon as he discovers them.
One day, back when Oliver was just learning to walk along furniture after someone else had lifted him into a standing position, he wanted to stand up himself. We could see the wheels turning; “There must be a way to stand up. I’ve been there before. How did I do it?” Then he literally grabbed his pants at the waist and tried to pull himself up.
I can relate. I like to think I can “pull myself up by my bootstraps,” but as Oliver demonstrated, it doesn’t work.
There are vistas that I’d like to see, lights of understanding that I’d like to flip on, tantalizing truths that I’d like to reach, but I’m too small. I reach, I grow, I learn, but at some point I am simply limited, and my efforts are about as effective as Oliver’s attempt to pick himself up by his diaper tabs.
Oliver has learned to signal, “Up, please!” We who love him cannot resist.
In the same way, when I hit the ceiling of my understanding and go to my Father with a need or a desire beyond my reach, he always lifts me up. Sometimes he grants my desire; other times he moves it still higher because it is not safe for me to hold it yet. Sometimes he reveals truth that I hadn’t seen before; sometimes he doesn’t so that I continue to stretch and search.
No matter what, I am learning that the most important thing I can reach for is to be content in his safe and loving arms. The desire for his loving presence is a longing he will always satisfy.
Apparently, and this never ceases to amaze me, we are irresistible to Him.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11