My new favorite daddy-Peter time activity these days is stroller walks around town while listening to the Daily Audio Bible podcast. Now, 95% of the time Peter is fast asleep from the motion, soothing wind and outdoor noises. Strollers are the baby-equivalent to a sleeping pill.
Well, the other day Peter was wide awake as we walked. He was cooing, giggling, and smiling up at me as we traveled along on one of the most beautiful fall evenings of the year. I was soaking in the Word of God — the Psalmist celebrating the majesty and glory of God displayed in the beauty of what he’s made: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19).
As tears filled my eyes at another reminder of God’s awesomeness, I looked down at Peter again. He was staring up into my eyes, filled with delight and awe at his daddy. What a moment: Myself, overwhelmed in amazement at the Creator of the Universe, and Peter’s amazement at his dad. I began telling Peter, “Look past me, Peter, to the big sky above! Don’t look at me! Look at the trees, birds, clouds, the bright shining sun — the handiwork of God! I’m nothing in comparison to these. Look above, Peter!”
I was saying to Peter what the Psalmist said to God: In comparison to God’s glory, “What is a mere mortal, that you are mindful of him” (Psalm 8)?
Despite my pleas to look past me and behold something far greater, Peter continued his gaze at me with adoration. I continued, “Peter, I’m just your earthly father. I’m going to mess up. I’m going to let you down. I’m a sinner. But let me tell you about your Heavenly Father and his son Jesus… Peter, look beyond me! Look at the sky above and behold the Creator!”
But he responded with a “Aaaaooooh! Laaaahaah!” and a continued to smile at me.
In that moment I remembered a relevant fact about 8 week olds. They can’t behold an object beyond about a meter away. I could try all I wanted to get Peter to behold the trees, skies, sunset, and all of God’s grandeur, but all he can see is me right now.
A humbling truth, isn’t it? John says it this way: “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us” (1 John 4:12). Yes, whether we’re 8 weeks or 80 years old, we all tend to be short-sighted when it comes to getting a glimpse of the invisible God. But God has chosen to make Himself known through his children in whose image they are made, as they love one another as God loves us.
We can try and try and try to get people to behold the awesomeness of God through reading His Word, through the beauty of creation, or in a powerful time of worship, but at the end of the day it just might be our own life that gives others the best glimpse of God.
I’ve written another post on a similar theme here.