If there is one thing you can never fault my kids for, it is their enthusiasm for life. They wake up in the morning with a bang and are ready to rock all day long. This makes everything an adventure, but it also makes everything exhausting.
Sunday afternoon my 7-year-old son, my 4-year-old son and I (with a few others) decided to take a trip to Bass Pro Shops. Fishing season is just around the corner, so it is time to get prepared. My kids have been there a few time and have certain things they enjoy about being there.
First, they want to go look at the tank of fish and the turtles. One of the bass was staring my two boys down and they were excited to put their face up to the aquarium and talk to it. They were getting quite loud and a crowd had gathered, so I moved them on. Next up, the trout pond. My 4-year-old quickly realized he could reach one and tried to grab one with his hand. So, we moved on. The turtles were out and ready to ‘play’. Let’s go look a them. Thankfully, there were too many people to get close to them.
Second, there is a laser shooting game that they always want to play. I never have quarters to give them to play it, but they still constantly ask me to let them shoot the guns. I even received a lecture about how the next time we come I should have quarters so that they can play. Truthfully, I will probably forget. In fact, they probably told me this the last time we were there.
Third, their idea of looking at fishing tackle involves grabbing the first thing they see. For my oldest, it was some actual fishing tackle. For my 4-year-old son, he had his mind set on a certain set of luggage. I should back up here and say that on the way there, they were looking through a catalog picking things out that they wanted. When they came to the luggage section, my 4-year-old decided to rip that page out. The moment we got out of the van, he showed me the exact luggage set he wanted. I asked him what he was going to do with it. His reply: “Put stuff in it.” I guess I asked.
Fourth, they want to ride, touch, or play with everything they could get their hands on. Today that meant trying to find a boat where the salesman had forgotten to put the rope up to keep people out. They looked at every boat, hoping to find one open to them. They didn’t find one. They looked at knives instead. “Hey dad, can I get a pocket knife.” I told them to ask their mother about that. We will see if they do.
This lead nicely to the guns. I don’t have a gun, but my boys are still boys and wanted to look at them. Then they wanted a pellet gun. “Ask your mother about that.”
Eventually, we got to the fishing supplies. This was, after all, the reason we had come. I convinced my older son to pick out a few lures for his tackle box. My younger son decided he wanted a box, but not for his fishing tackle. He wanted a box for his treasures. Since I wasn’t going to buy him the luggage, he needed something else. We found a small tackle box and he was all set. He even found an eraser, paper clip, watch battery and some assorted pamphlets to put inside of it.
Lastly, every time I go there I end up buying some candy. This little tidbit my kids never forget. As we left they are had a serious debate about which candy we should purchase and why. Each time they look at the endless display and each time they inevitably end up with sour gummy worms. They call them “salty worms.” We walk out the door and I hand one son a handful of worms and the other I give just a couple. I just wanted to see what he would do and he quickly got offended by the apparent lack of fairness. Don’t worry, I fixed it.
As funny as all of it sounds, if I pay attention I can see the hand of God at work. You see, my kids are just being themselves. They are just living their lives with excitement and enjoying what is right in front of them. They are not worried about anything, especially being lost. I know this because I had to stop and locate my younger son more times than I can count. He just stops and gets into something. Life can be a lot of fun, but there is something far better than all of this excitement we have in a day.
“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Psalm 63:3
As I watched my kids, It was as if God was saying “you like this right? well, the love I have for you exceeds all this joy you are experiencing.” To say love is better than life is a deep statement. The time I have with my kids is wonderful and I cherish it more than I can express here. I hope these days never end. But, even as good as these days with my kids are, the love of God exceeds it.
Let that soak in today because I can’t think of anything that could even compare with life itself. We protect our life and the lives of those we love. When someone gets in an accident and is alright, there is an immediate sense of relief that their life was spared. But think about the fact that God’s love is better than any of that.
As you start a new week, don’t lose sight of the love of God. You might not feel like God is loving you, but He is. When you get a glimpse of this, it changes you.