On the train a father chases his daughter as she scrambles up the stairs from the lower level.
Only around two years of age, she comes towards me, eyes glistening and arms reaching.
I offer a smile.
She smacks into the glass panel, face pressed against the surface.
She peers through.
Looks at me.
Can she differentiate between screen and reality?
Can she see what she is up against?
She is easily distracted and moves to the man across from me.
He is looking down at his screen, offering no smile.
I had been so focused on her that I forgot about him.
He comes and scoops her up, lifting her in his arms, pointing to the dangling handles.
He rests her on his shoulder as she reaches out.
On her own, she cannot reach what she sees.
She needs her father to support her, to build her up, to encourage her in another way.
The father shows her a bar above the dangling arm holders.
She grabs a hold of the bar, more stable than the holders.
The picture is one of innocent trust from the daughter:
and uncondiontal love, support and strength from the father.
Such a simple scene.
Sitting here on the train.
I realise my Heavenly Father is chasing me.
In this moment.
I am his daughter.
Without him I cannot reach.
Without him I cannot see.
I am easily distracted.
I am curious.
But he follows me.
He is a source of strength and rest.
He supports me when I cannot hold myself.
My Father loves me unconditionally.
This fatherhood transcends our earthly understanding.
Next time I’m on the bus and a father pushes a pram on, tucking in his little girl to the courtesy seat space.
The little girl has bright blue eyes, piggy tails facing out as her eyes gaze around.
She stares into her father’s eyes in awe as he speaks.
She looks at me with those bright eyes and I can’t help but smile at her carefree wonder.
She is settled, seated, held in a structure specifically for her.
She has a place, physically, but also a place in her fathers heart and mind.
He opens a bag of cheese for her.
She takes them and scrunches up her face.
She holds onto the cheesy straws and plays with them before eating.
He extends water to her so she will drink.
She is around one years old so doesn’t speak.
She wraps her little feet under the pram straps.
She stares and processes the world and squirms, making a few indispensable sounds.
She is fully dependent on her father to help her navigate the world.
She has no awareness of the bus moving:
No comprehension of the roads and the transport systems beyond them.
No ability to fathom that people move and work:
and there days are full of beginnings and endings and a bunch of connection in between.
All she knows are the connections.
She doesn’t know how it begins or how it ends, all she knows are the connections.
All she can do is start to pull the pieces together and keep trusting and turning to her father.
He introduces her to more and more connections, doing the start and finish for her.
He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Both of the above were written while on public transport.
Train and bus respectively.
As you can see, fatherhood has been a theme of this week.
On how God is my Father.
How I am adopted into his family and can come to him knowing he has prepared a place for me in his house (John 14:1-7).
Just as a child cannot fathom the complexity of the world and it’s systems,
completely reliant on their relationship with their parents,
I too am fully dependent on God to understand and navigate this narrative of life.
According to Sam Chan, there are three primary metaphors for God’s relationship with us.
These are symbols of his love for us in his Word.
Marriage, Alcohol and Fatherhood.
For many, one of those three symbols have been hurtful and damaging, so we avoid them.
But God invites us into a redemptive relationship with him, pointing us to his love and ideal.
Where these three things may have wounded us, he has come to heal the deepest wound of our souls, our separation from him.
In Christ he has established his new covenant of love, that we might know him as Father,
that we might be the Bride of Christ, that we may partake in his body and blood.
Chan states that these three symbols echo of a greater reality:
the kingdom of love we can enjoy with God.