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Sitting in God’s Lap

by Jenni Key

June 24, 2020

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My husband Jim is 6’5” tall. That’s tall. And it can be really convenient for those around him—he can reach the top shelf without a stepstool and he’s easy to spot at the swap meet, even if he’s at the opposite end of a row.

Our son Matt realized early on that sitting on Dad’s shoulders was the place to be whenever possible. I remember a time four-year-old Matt was hoisted on high in that way and Jim checked with him: “Everything okay up there, Bubba?” To which Matt replied, “I can see the whole world!” (although without those pesky “r’s” at his disposal it was “wo-wold” instead of “world.”) But we understood. 6’5” plus another foot or so gave Matt eye level access to the whole horizon.

Our daughter Emily instead found her daddy’s lap the place to be, not unlike Matt’s delight in being on Jim’s shoulders.  When the kids were young we had a rule that everyone had to stay at the dinner table until all were finished eating. This was a problem for Matt, who had places to go and Legos to assemble—and his sister was a notoriously slow eater. She always had so much to say in telling tales about her day. As a matter of fact, when her Mother’s Day Out class did a unit on Native Americans, they dubbed her “Princess Chattering Squirrel.” They got that right! But her daddy would often pull her into his lap and prepare forkfuls of food so that she could get through the meal and finally free Matt to scamper off.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about both those aspects of not only my kids’ earthly father, but also in a metaphorical way, our heavenly Father. I’ve been pleading with God to lift me above the crowd to see clearly, to fix my eyes on Jesus rather than on circumstances, to take the long view. I’ve asked Him to give me His eyes to see the things that break His heart, and the wisdom and courage to do something about them.

If you are one of the people I’ve prayed with in the church’s Prayer Room through recent years, I may have prayed this over you: “Father God, will You please draw [insert name here] up into Your lap and just hold her . . . Let her lean her head against Your chest and hear Your heart beating for her . . . be the lifter of her head and help her to know You are her Father, Your banner over her is love, and You are with her and for her.”

One of the names for God is “ABBA” which I’ve heard most closely approaches our word “Daddy.” It’s a powerful picture of the Father-child relationship—a loving, protecting, sheltering relationship. Lately, in addition to wanting the Lord to lift me so that I can see clearly, I’ve also really needed my Abba Father to hold me. So I’ve taken my own advice and crawled up into His lap to be comforted. That’s me, leaning my head against His chest and being held. There’s room for you here too.

Jenni is the wife of one, mother of two, and Nanna to four. Of all the things the pandemic has stolen, she finds the loss of hugs is one of the hardest.