Peter and Papa’s Recliner :Mike Ehrmantrout
I’m retired now, and, to my adult children, I’m the guy who has “nothing to do” and am “always available.”
I get amused at that, but, for the most part, I’m blessed that I can be available for them most of the time.
This has translated into me being “Papa’s Day Care,” as two of my three sons have toddlers and work full-time as do their wives. I don’t mind a bit. As you who are parents or grandparents can probably imagine, I feel very grateful I’m able to spend such time with my grandchildren.
One of the babies is named Peter (after Spiderman, not the Apostle, although I remind my son his boy has the name of the Apostle, even if he is named after a comic book character.)
Peter is one year old. He’s a very special child. He has a quiet spirit and he loves to just sit on Papa’s lap in Papa’s recliner and watch “Little Baby Bum.” (It’s a nursery rhyme series, for those who aren’t familiar.) He gets up on Papa’s lap, sometimes for only a very few minutes, then gets back down again to roam around and play with Macaroni boxes he gets from the pantry, even though we have a whole tub of toys for him and his cousin to play with. He repeats this cycle over and over.
Peter doesn’t care if Papa is writing on his computer or busy checking his phone. He just comes to the side of my chair and lifts up his little arms, expecting me to pick him up. No matter what I may be doing at the time, however important it may be, I don’t think twice about setting it aside and gathering him up into my arms and setting him down on my lap. I don’t expect him to say anything, because he only speaks gibberish at the present time. But I love to hear him babble on and on about stuff even though I’ve no clue what he’s saying. It’s just endearing that he wants to say anything to me at all.
You can probably see where I’m going with this.
Jesus revealed to us that God is our Father. We know from Scripture that He dearly loves us. Jesus said a lot about children in the Gospels. These are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. I’ve been reflecting on these this past week. Luke 18:15-17, “But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” As I meditated on that verse, my mind went straight to Peter and my recliner.
You see, Peter trusts me. He comes to me freely. He isn’t afraid of me. Even when I have to tell him “no, Peter, don’t touch that,” I say it in a soft and gentle voice. Why? Because I simply adore him, that’s why. And that’s how our Father in heaven sees us. And when I do say no, Peter often continues to touch and get into things even when he knows Papa doesn’t want him to. After I gently remove whatever he was getting into, he just goes about his business again. He’ll come right back to my recliner and sit in my lap again. I don’t chastise him harshly because he is a child. I gladly lift him up in my arms once again and set him on my lap.
How the Father longs for us to see Him in this way. He created us in His image. Matthew 7:10-11: “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Yet, many of us did not have a loving father or grandfather. My father physically abused my mother and myself and all of my siblings. After my mom divorced him, he abandoned us children and no longer had anything to do with us. Both of my grandfathers passed away before I was born. So I have had a difficult time sometimes with the concept of God as my Father.
And yet, I can easily understand now, because our Father in heaven uses little Peter as His instrument to teach me of Himself. He’s been showing me that He sees me like I see Peter. I can freely come to Him, even when I’ve done stuff I shouldn’t have done. I don’t have to be afraid anymore, as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:15, For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Have you ever had an issue with God as Father? Perhaps some of you had a wonderful father or grandfather you could tell us about. Others, unfortunately, may’ve had a different experience. Whatever the case, tell us about it, if you should desire. Love y’all!