One of my greatest joys is when my boys reach for me. They do so for different reasons and at different times, but there is still something about the reach. The baby reaches for me instinctively. When I walk into the room and he hasn’t seen me in a while, he reaches for me. When he is frustrated because his attempts at crawling and walking do not materialize as he had hoped, he reaches for me. Sometimes, he is just tired of being held by someone else and he reaches for me. When those little arms reach out, it is very hard to resist scooping him up and giving him a great big bear hug. I love the reach!
The older boy reaches as well, but in a much different way. He doesn’t necessarily reach for me when I walk into a room. If he’s busy, he throws up a hand and says “Hey Dad!” He reaches when he’s been hurt, or when he’s scared, or when he’s not feeling well. He reaches for me when he hasn’t seen me in a while. And because he is very mobile, his reaches turn into hugs without much effort on my part.
There is one thing that I cannot fathom doing when my children reach for me. I cannot fathom ignoring them. I cannot imagine ignoring the reach. When they reach for me, my natural response is to grab them and love on them and comfort them. I pray that they never get too big to reach for their daddy.
The truth is that we should never stop reaching. We may not always be reaching for our parents, but we should always be reaching for Jesus. Paul said it this way in Philippians 3:13-14, “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
I thought about this from the perspective of a young child. Why do they reach for their parents? Sometimes it is to simply touch them. Sometimes it is to gain a better perspective – the baby will often come to me because I am taller and he can see more. Sometimes it is to be comforted. Sometimes it is simply because they miss their parents and want to be close. I am sure that there are plenty of other reasons, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that we should be reaching for Jesus for many of the same reasons.
I think we tend to stop reaching, much like an older child does. We gain a spirit of independence. We do not want to be seen as weak or helpless. We might even get embarrassed if someone saw us reaching. Could it be that we are also too busy playing with our toys? I don’t think God is satisfied with a wave and an acknowledgement of His presence in the room from a child that is too busy. As a Father, I believe that God loves it when his children reach for him and when He is the object of their desire – the singular focus of their lives.
Have you stopped reaching for your Father? You know, we can reach for Him more than when we simply need comfort or when we are afraid. It is perfectly appropriate to reach for our Father because we simply want to be near Him, to touch Him, to feel His presence.
How do we do it? How do we reach for our Father? One word – focus. Paul talks about forgetting the past and concentrating on the goal. That’s focus. When a child is hurt and needs his mom or dad, he is focused, he reaches. When the storm rages outside and the baby is scared, he reaches out. Only one thing will bring comfort – mom or dad. That’s focus! Don’t lose your focus on your Father and stop reaching!
A proud daddy – reaching for his Father!