My new book Sons and Daughters releases October 9th, but I cannot wait that long, so I am sharing some excerpts here on my blog. Here is a snippet from chapter 25.
An old photograph featuring former President John F. Kennedy captures the essence of how I now view God. In it, the president is standing to the side of his desk in the Oval Office, tapping his toe and clapping as his young daughter and son jump and dance around the room. Legend has it that the shot was snapped just as the leader of the free world was in the throes of the internationally tense Cuban Missile Crisis, when Russia was trying to establish a missile base in Cuba.
The president and his advisers were pressed to make difficult military and diplomatic decisions, even as they shuffled myriad other world leaders in and out of the Oval Office who were seeking an audience with them. During one such meeting, the Commander in Chief heard the pitter-patter of children’s feet outside his office doors and cleared his office so he could turn his attention to Caroline and John Jr., if only for a few minutes. Telling, isn’t it, that when the weight of the world was on his shoulders, this leader still found time to enjoy his kids.
JFK may have been President of the United States, but to Caroline and John Jr., he was “Dad.” Those kids didn’t see their dad’s authority; all they saw was his access. President Kennedy wielded the most power of any single individual on the planet, but those closest to him knew that father was his favorite role.
It’s a fitting metaphor for God. He is all-powerful—and he is Abba. He is all-present—and he is Daddy. He is all-knowing—and he is Papa. “Father” is his favorite role, and he will grant us an audience, even when we’re acting like little children. Perhaps especially then. Yes, he commands our deference, but how he loves it when we dance at his feet.