Thursday, January 08, 2009

Counting Stars

One of the things I absolutely love about Anna is how excitable she is. As far as Anna is concerned, everything is a big deal. To her, whatever is going on is a reason to jump up and down, raise your voice or let your face break open in the biggest smile of all time. The other day I discovered that Anna’s preschool was starting back up even though we didn’t know it… I called Christy and told her Anna was going to go to school that day and Christy told Anna… what followed was a complete distortion of the phone speaker due to Anna going absolutely insane with glee at the thought of going back to school in less than an hour! On Norah’s birthday we took the girls to the movies, and most of the time I was just watching Anna’s face explode with incredulous mirth as her mind was being blown at 24 frames per second by the biggest screen she’d ever seen. On Christmas morning our house couldn’t have been any louder if a fire truck had rolled through the living room, blaring its siren; such was the merry making of my little girl.

She just gets so pumped about everything! I’ve grown to love this part of her personality so much that I try to build things up and spring them on her in such a way as to cause one of these outbursts… like when we’re going to the zoo, Christy and I will go in the girls’ room when they wake up and really slowly say, “Guess what guys?” And the girls start to giggle while Anna starts bouncing in place and says, “What… what?” (with increasing volume) So we spread the next sentence out with a pause in between each word for dramatic effect: “Today… we… are… going… to… the………” “To the what, Dad?! Today we’re going to the what?!” “To the ZOO!” And everyone bursts into raucous screams and laughter! It’s awesome, and as a dad, few things get me more pumped than seeing my girl giddy with delight.

I thought about Anna today when I was reading in Genesis 15 about Abraham. I thought about his long life full of dashed hopes and crushed dreams… I mean, a guy with a name that means ‘exalted father’ who has no kids? Come on! I thought about how it had probably been years and years… maybe even decades and decades since he had his mind blown by unexpected joy. God told him, “I am your very great reward.” But Ole’ Abe was grumpy that day and he wasn’t having any of it… he said, “What reward? What can you give me since I have no kids and will never have any kids because You didn’t give me any kids?!” It says then that God took him outside and said this: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them… so shall your offspring be.”

The old man walked outside his tent, craned his neck and peered up into the black sky… what must a cloudless night of stars have looked like 4,000 years before the industrial revolution? What was it like to stare up into thousands upon thousands; no, hundreds of thousands of shining beacons of bright in the middle of the dark knowing that they were there for you? I don’t know, but I bet you anything he didn’t stand there for too long. I bet he laid down on his back in the grass and just watched, counted and laughed. Somewhere in that night of stargazing, faith was born, and I bet it was that super excited faith of a child. It says that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. That night God blew his mind… the plans God had for him were so outrageously bigger than anything Abe would have ever dared hope for that it made him giddy and full of faith. Here at the beginning of a new year, I hope you’re ready for God to blow your mind. The stuff He has planned for you is so much bigger, so much cooler and more amazing than you could ever invent or ask for. Get ready.

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