My eyes were barely focusing when the bedroom door opened and the questions began. Our grandchildren visited us this week (bringing their parents along for the ride.)
Can we make cookies like last time?
Will you draw me more ice skating paper dolls?
Can I watch a movie on your computer?
Can I make a castle out of Lego?
Can you sew me a dress today?
Can I pick the strawberries yet?
Can we go to the toy store?
Do you still have ice cream in your fridge?
Can we go on a picnic in the forest?
We did a lot of those things, but when I learned the African Children’s Choir was going to be in town I knew they would enjoy going to hear them. The problem was that they didn’t know they would enjoy going. They had never been to a concert before. They had no grid for this experience. I showed them YouTube clips of the choir, but they still weren’t convinced -until we were sitting in the front row of a large local church – and then the choir children ran in and sang and drummed and danced their way into our hearts. Our five-year-old granddaughter begged permission to sit on the floor at the foot of the stage. It wasn’t long before she was up and moving to the music. Although, from time to time, she shyly checked out the very white, very sedate audience sitting neatly in rows behind her, the desire to dance and sing along almost burst out of her. Her three-year old brother never blinked as he studied the amazing young drummers, his hands moving quietly in his lap.
Their joy gave me joy.
Later our granddaughter said, “I wonder if God wants me to be a singer?” All the way home from the Canada Day celebrations in the park (another happy new experience) she sang, unselfconsciously, in a strong, pure, totally in tune voice, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul, I worship Your holy name!”
She made me smile so hard my face hurt.
I was wondering what to write about after they left. I felt the Lord telling me to rest; he would give me a topic. (Two very active pre-schoolers and an 18 month old intrepid explorer in a house that is not child-proofed anymore make me aware of my age.) When I woke up from my nap I had a message from a former student I haven’t seen nearly often enough. She talked about something important she realized about prayer, that prayer is not about changing the will of God so that he will grant us our requests; rather prayer is knowing that we are his beloved children and spending time with him brings our will into alignment with his. I thought of the privilege we have of being part of God’s family and being able to call him Abba -Daddy. I thought of the kids and the African Children’s Choir experience. Yes. It all fits.
Any relationship requires effort (some would even say work) but where love is, that effort is a pleasure. I adore my grandchildren and they seem to enjoy being with me. (“Daisy” packed her suitcase and had it sitting by the front door two days before it was time to leave for Nana’s house.) My friend’s post reminded me that as we make an effort to spend time getting to know the God who loves us much more purely than a grandmother ever could, we begin to understand who he is and who he says we are. Prayer -spending time with him- is not a burdensome chore. It is pleasure. We may ask him for a thousand things, and he hears us and gladly responds, but he often has even better ideas. He wants to give us more than we ever imagined. He gives us grace to reach our potential because he knows the desires he has already placed in our hearts. He just wants us to come and talk to him and listen to him.
So, sing like never before, oh my soul, and worship his holy name!