In the waiting room of the hospital, a very curious little three-year old approached me, with her head tilted, and asked, “What happened to your leg?” So I explained to her that I had surgery and was still healing. We had a lovely conversation, asking each other about our favorite colors, favorite cartoon characters, and favorite games. Before I knew it, she crawled up in my lap. Her mother apologized and moved forward to retrieve her, but I assured her it was fine with me if it was OK with her. And I was so grateful that it was.
As Eva sat on my lap, I decided to try out one of our little family traditions on her. Mom used to do this with us, and in all of her years teaching children has had a 100% success rate with the giggle factor on this little gem. Some of you may have heard of this little song/game. I have no idea of what original context the song was written or when it was written…but it goes like this…
I had Eva hold her cute little hand out, palm up. I gently traced a circle on her palm with my finger as I sang, “Round round circle, put a penny here…” and then, slowly…very slowly, “walking” my fingers up her arm toward her shoulder, I sang “one step…two steps…” and then, unexpected to Miss Eva, I sang “tickle under here!” and tickled Eva until I heard the BEST SOUND IN THE WORLD…the belly laugh of a child!
Of course, you know what happened after that, right?
“Again, Miss Missa!” (She had a little trouble pronouncing my name – so sweet.) So over and over again we went, and each time, when I got to the “….two steps”, I would pause dramatically, purposefully making her wait until she was about to come out of her skin with expectation. Her eyes were huge with anticipation about the best part — the inevitable tickle-fest to come! She knew that after that second step up her arm was done, it was all about belly-laughing joy.
I drove home thinking about Eva’s big eyes and belly laughs.
Do I anticipate the next move of God’s hand with that kind of anticipation?
Eva knew the game. She knew after the first time that the outcome resulted in her joy. In her mind, it was simple: “Miss Melissa did it last time, so she’ll do it again.” And each time, she believed the outcome was going to result in her joy. She trusted me to deliver it. So every single time, her eyes grew big in anticipation of what was to come. Because she remembered the last time.
God has always brought joy from waiting, uncertainty, or darkness in my life. There has not been one single time in my life when I have sought Him and not found the doorway out of the valley and into hope. I’ll bet you can say the same thing. How quickly we are to forget it. Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t take long for me to lose my focus on Him and gaze at the struggle instead.
How quickly I forget that I’ve been here before.
How quickly I forget to look into His eyes and remember that He has never, ever let me down.
How quickly I forget that I can be confident in my current circumstance because of God’s past performance on my behalf.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! (Eph. 3:14-21, NIV)
This morning I caught myself belly-laughing in anticipation of what God has waiting for me on the other side of the door.
Because I remember the last time.
Thanks for the reminder, Eva.