Jack likes walking. When he first started moving about on two legs, he couldn’t decide whether he liked walking or crawling more, but that was only because he was still a bit faster on all fours. Now that he has the balance thing all worked out, he loves to walk and I believe that one of the reasons he likes walking is that he hates having dirty hands. If Jack stumbles in the dirt or mulch, he scoffs at the debris hanging on to those little chunky mitts. He wipes his dirty paws on his hair and on his clothes... anything to get the gunk off. Back in the day, when his hands got dirty, he would just look at them, crinkle his face up and cry until someone wiped them off, but now he takes charge because he likes to be clean.
The thing is, as much as Jack likes being clean, it’s nothing compared to how much Christy and I like him to be clean. He loves his bath and even says the word “bath” with much enthusiasm, but we’re the ones who take the initiative to clean him up. I would never have been able to explain this to my fourteen-year-old self, but there is almost nothing cuter and sweeter in this world than a little baby fresh out of the bath! Toweling off that soft, pudgy skin and slipping fresh pj’s over that fluffy head is one of the best things about being a parent... there’s just something in our hearts that not only loves that baby, but loves him to be all fresh and clean. As much as he wants that, we want it even more.
The other day I was reading Isaiah 43 and I was asking God to encourage me... to tell me He loved me and fill my heart with something for that day when I came upon a verse that says, “I, even I am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
Whoa! Sometimes it would be easy to think that God simply tolerates me... that out His outrageous mercy He saved me because I was so messed up and needed to be saved, and wanted to be saved, but that deep down He doesn’t really like me all that much; but look at this! He saved us and forgave us for His own sake! Can you handle this? Sure, I need forgiveness and I love being forgiven, but that’s not the only reason why I’m forgiven! My relationship with God isn’t based on or rooted in my desire or even my need so much as His love! When I wasn’t seeking Him, He was coming after me! When I was running the other way and didn’t want Him, He wanted me! When I needed Him but didn’t even know it or want Him, He saved me for His own sake... in other words, because He just wanted to! He wanted us. As much as we love being His and being clean, He loves having us as His own even more! He doesn’t just tolerate you or put up with you... He is absolutely crazy about you!