This little beauty is my three year-old daughter, Cora.
Here's the thing about Cora: she hates swings. She is terrified of them.
My wife and I aren't too sure what it is about swings she dislikes, whether it's the gravity drops at the apex, the motion, or that she feels helpless to what's happening. All we know is she freezes solid leaning back and screams as if being shot into outer space.
You couldn't tell that from the picture though, could you? That is her coy smile of joy.
This weekend while at the park with family I decided, "Let's give this another try" and plomped her into this instrument of torture and terror and engaged the warp drive. (I'm expecting my dad of the year award to arrive soon). Warp speed being the blistering pendulum swing of two or three feet. As expected, she let loose cries for salvation at such a pitch that only dogs could truly understand.
It was at this point God intervened.
Usually when gently pushing her I'm standing up straight and trying my best to reassure her that, "Everything's ok, you're ok".
This time I bent down until eye level with her, locking in my gaze with her eyes while saying, "Just look at me sweetie, keep your eyes on Daddy".
Just like that, her cries ceased, she visibly relaxed, leaning forward and smiled. Then she even gave a tentative laugh!
At that moment God spoke to me saying, "This is you and I. Keep your eyes on Daddy and everything will be ok"...
I need this reminder every. single. day.
So much of my time is spent doing things to build the Kingdom, to make the name of Jesus famous. Yet I fail so much in remembering to listen to God's desire seen in the first half of Psalm 27:8, "My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me..."
Communication 101 is to look at the person you're talking to. Even though we can't look God in the face, we can read passages like Job 31:7, "my heart has gone after my eyes", Luke 11:34, "Your eyes light up your inward being" and Genesis 1:27, "In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them"and come to this conclusion:
If we are made in God's image and our eyes are connected to our hearts, then if we see God's heart we are looking into His eyes. We see the face of God because we can see His heart in Scripture.
Cora looked into my eyes while on the swing, and she could see in my heart that all I wanted was for her to be safe, trust me, and enjoy the moment. When the realization was made, that when she relaxed, stopped worrying about what scared her and we simply basked in our daddy-daughter time.
I want to remember this moment as an "Ebenezer stone" in my life.
That no matter how intense the movements of life swing from one extreme to the other, how out of my control situations are, or if I feel I'm falling, I know God is asking my heart to commune with Him.
It is my prayer to live in the second part of Psalm 27:8, "...And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming".
To believe that God is seeking my face and my heart is to see the eyes and heart of the Father.
May you know and live in this as well.