I am a people watcher. I love to observe and try to understand who and what people are about. Sometimes I get more than I bargain for. Last week was such a time.
I was studying in a local coffee shop and I saw a family of three enter. The Mom and Dad were in their early 40’s and their son was in his late teens. He was dressed like a typical teenager, baggy basketball shorts, Nike t-shirt, flip flops. He had short hair and earrings in both ears. The Dad was fit and very well built. They looked like a typical athletic family out for a coffee together.
However, within a few minutes I noticed that this boy was a little different. He kept hugging his dad. He would talk to them but then continually come back in for a hug. After a closer look I noticed that he was handicapped.
The store was full of people and doubtless many were watching this family. In a moment the dad initiated a hug to his son. He held him close for the better part of 2 minutes. His son just hugged back. They stood there embracing in the middle of a Starbucks while their drinks were being made. Neither this dad nor the son cared what others thought. They just hugged one another and affirmed their love and loyalty to one another.
As I looked at the strong, chisled jaw of this father hugging his handicapped son I was reminded of where this love comes from. I don’t pretend to know this man’s spiritual condition but I do know that he is made in the image of God. Therefore, his love and care for his son are derivative of him being an image bearer. He is reflecting his creator’s love.
Christians see and know much more of a Father’s love. We have welcoming, reassuring, and comforting embrace of our Father through the gospel. We know by the eyes of faith and the testimony of the Holy Spirit that God the Father is favorable towards us. He is no longer angry. He welcomes us. We are in the family, adopted by grace.
As children we receive the continual affirmation that God is for us. Because God gave his own Son for us we may be welcomed. It was the wrath of God upon Christ that brings his affection to us. It was his rejection of Jesus that brings our acceptance. It was Christ’s loyalty to his Father that brings about God’s loyalty to us. Every blessing that is received, whether realized or not, is mediated through the gospel of Christ.
Because of what the Scripture teaches me I know of this longstanding embrace from my Father. And much like this young man, it gives me refreshment, it reminds me of my Father’s love, it convinces me of his loyalty, and it showcases my acceptance by him. This is good to be reminded of, even by unlikely means.