I’m a father now. Not like a priest with a collar or anything, just a dad, with khaki shorts and t-shirts from Target. It sounds a little funny, to say it out loud like that. It’s just that I feel a little too young to be a dad. I feel like dads shouldn’t have blogs, or eat Skittles, or watch Seinfeld every day. Dads should read newspapers and wear suits, eat Werther’s originals and tell other people to turn the TV off. Dads should have interesting stories, old ones about the war, or about that one time they scored a touchdown with one hand. But I don’t have any stories like that. I never played football, or fought in a war that didn’t take place inside my Playstation. I guess I just feel slightly unqualified for this new position I find myself in. I feel like at any moment, the people who decide who should and shouldn’t have kids are going to find me and say, “You can’t raise kids…what are those, Skittles?…turn the TV off.”
In attempt to make up for this parental inadequacy complex, I decided to just fill my house with stuff that my kids can’t refuse. I have twins by the way, like the ones on ‘Full House’ – only one is a boy. You should see our house. We have two of everything. We’ve got swings and bouncy chairs, things that sing and chirp, stationary cribs, portable cribs, cribs that fold up, and one that we just keep in the trunk. I just figure that if a kid is crying, at least one of these contraptions will calm them down.
It’s kind of ironic that the times I feel the most qualified as a dad is when they’re in my arms. In fact, their favorite place to rest is in my arms. Yeah, me…the guy without any war stories or Werther’s Originals. Crazy, right? When they lay in my arms, they are at peace. Not only that, they prefer my arms to all the other contraptions that I cursed at while putting together. I guess this means I actually am a good father, or maybe that I just have really soft arms, which isn’t ideal for a man.
People told me that I would see God differently after I had kids. I thought that was nice of them to say. Maybe it was true, I don’t know, I just figured it was something that people say after they awkwardly ask your wife if she’s planning on breastfeeding. But these people were right. I do see God differently now, I see Him as more of a father, not one with a collar, more like one with khaki shorts.
When I hold my kids in my arms, it makes me think of God. And when I look around at all the swings and cribs and seats in our house, it makes me think of our stories…my story. I think about how we spend our lives constructing things that we think will make us happy, things we believe will give us peace. We build these elaborate contraptions, houses and cars and careers and relationships, hoping to find rest, hoping to find security. But we never find it. In fact, we find just the opposite. We find things like anxiety and fear and worry, an unshakeable discontent.
What I’m learning is, we’ll never find all that stuff we’re looking for away from our father’s arms. No matter how elaborate our lives become, apart from His embrace, we’ll never find the rest that we crave, the peace that surpasses all understanding. See, in the father’s arms we are safe. We are secure, accepted, and significant. We’re at peace. So maybe the answer isn’t to keep building things and chasing stuff that won’t satisfy. Maybe the answer is to seek Him out, to seek out His embrace, the only one that can quench our discontent. There’s peace in His grip, there’s rest in His embrace.