“The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Galatians 8:16).
My youngest son, Chandler, doesn’t care much for sports. His brothers play just about every sport available to them, but Chandler has only tried a few. A few years ago, he decided to play a sport that neither one of my other sons had ever played, floor hockey. He was very excited about the opportunity to play something different and I believe that somehow he hoped to identify himself a little more through it.
I was able to attend his first game and he played hard. It is not an easy sport to play and Chandler put forth a tremendous effort. That evening, we complimented him on how well he had done just as we normally do. I wasn’t expecting what happened in the early morning hours of the next day. Chandler woke me at four a.m. as he crawled in to be with Jan and me. I looked at him and he seemed to be wide awake. He asked, “Dad, did you like how I played last night?” Now, I don’t know what you are thinking about at four o’clock in the morning, but I was visiting intensely with Mr. Sandman and in no condition to respond responsibly. Chandler’s question, however, pulled me out of my slumber.
I really believe that at that moment my son and I had a divine encounter with our Heavenly Father. I responded to Chandler, “I thought you played great tonight son, but what made me the most proud was the fact that you are my son! I was just proud to see you out on the floor, playing in the game!” (I know that had to be the Holy Spirit, because that would not be my normal response so early in the morning.) Chandler smiled a great smile and then contently snuggled up close to me and drifted back to sleep.
In that moment however, I felt God speak to my heart words that I needed to hear. I had been walking through a period of time in my life where I was feeling like a total failure. I felt inadequate as a husband, a father, a minister and even as a follower of Christ. I felt as though I had disappointed many in my sphere of influence, but it was my wife and my children that were of the most concern to me. I took some radical steps to try and get some things figured out and attempted to find my focus again. It was in the stillness of the early hours that morning that I felt God reassure me that He, my Heavenly Father, was pleased with me. Not because of how I was ‘performing’ my responsibilities, rather, He was proud of me simply because I am His son and I am “on the floor,” playing in “the game!”
Wow! I needed to hear those words of life and to feel His presence near. I felt my Father so close to me in those early morning hours it was as if He was snuggled up close to me! I began to think differently at four a.m.—I began to understand that my life is not about trying to make God proud of me! He’s already proud of me simply because I am His son! I belong to Him! My Father is pleased with me because I am on the floor; I’m in the game; it’s not based on my performance!
What about you? Are you feeling like you have been failing as a father? As a son? Do you feel as though you are not “performing” well enough to please your Heavenly Father? Today, rest in the reality that those who have committed their lives to being a follower of Christ, belong to Him. We are His sons! He is proud of His children, every one of us!! Not because we play the game well, but simply because we are on the floor!
—Scott Lee is the father of three boys. He is the lead pastor of Bethesda Worship Center, COGOP in Sheridan, Wyoming, where he and his wife have served for the last 16 years. Scott is available to travel and speak at father/son conferences and retreats. He is the writer for Fathers on the Floor blog online.