She had no idea how much she made my heart skip a beat.
Let me rewind a bit. It was Friday night, and we’d scheduled to have a “family campout” in the living room that night. So earlier that day, during my lunch break, I’d gotten our tent rain-fly out. After tying the edges to some well-placed chairs, and throwing a lamp and a broomstick in the middle, we had a pretty good tent. It took up most of the living room. We were laying there when the phonecall came, “Hey Pastor Wick, this is *********. I’ve got 5 tickets to a hockey game tomorrow night if you wanna take your family?” Of course!!!
So there we were, a short drive to Peoria to watch the Rivermen take on the Bloomington Thunder. Sure, it wasn’t the NHL. Heck, it wasn’t even the AHL anymore. It was now part of the “Southern Professional Hockey League”. But it was a great (and free) way to test out my girls at a live hockey game before investing actual money in the experience. We arrived a bit early, of course, and the girls let out a collective “whoaaa” as they came up the stairs to look out over the ice. The players from both teams were warming up, shooting and passing, and skating all around the ice. I smiled deep.
There were other moments, for sure. Climbing the stairs to our row, excited to see where we sat. Asking for popcorn/nachos/drink/etc. (our donors also laid out a few bucks in the envelope to get the girls a treat!!), we settled into the first period. I sat with our 4 year old on my lap, announcing to her what was happening. She seemed to kind of understand. It was a fast-paced, defensive-heavy game. No scoring yet. We went all the way to the top of the bowl, where we had room and we all danced the electric-slide together…their smiles were giant and rewarding. I was glad they were having fun. Second period started as we got back to our seats, and yet again, defensive plays ruled the day.
After a bit, Sophie needed a potty break. So mommy took the younger two, and I slid down to sit by Addie, our 7 year old. She was obviously enjoying the game. I must have missed how much she was zoned in. Almost without taking her eyes off the puck, she smiled, “Dad, I can’t believe it’s far into the 2nd period, and no one has scored yet!”
This wasn’t my daughter simply agreeing to a statement I’d made. She wasn’t simply cheering when daddy cheered, or nodding along with me. This was an indepentent confirmation of a Truth she’d come to realize completely on her own. Embedded within her statement of enjoyment was an unspoken phrase, “This is good!”
We have such moments with God. Certainly there are moments while reading God’s Word, or while worshiping in the sanctuary that we raise our face to His and proclaim, “This is good!” But then there are those unscripted moments. Those times when the sun is setting over the frozen midwestern plains, and the light hits the clouds just so. Or when the annoying laughter of children who won’t go to sleep suddenly sounds like sweet music. Or when the picture of the child you’re in process of adopting reveals a scar on her head…and you realize your heart is moved more than you realize it could be by something so small…
And in these moments we recognize, in the midst of all the unknowns in life – “This is good.”
And the Father, who declared such an unalterable “good” long ago…smiles.
May we each experience the heart of our Father this week…