Smile or Cry

Leading up to Christmas I had the privilege of going to my daughters’ Christmas presentation at their school. Kara and Melanie both got on stage and were proud to display the Christmas craft they had made. Each year all the children sing on stage together. It is funny to watch the different personalities on a stage during such a performance. Some kids seem obsessed with the motions and forget to sing the words, while others stand frozen but get every word right. Then there are those that sing loud and make big motions and those that sing quiet and make small motions. And then there are others that just stand there in great fear of the moment, while there is always at least one that is simply doing their own thing on stage but in a big way for everyone to see.

My two girls have extremely different personalities. Melanie is quiet and reserved while Kara is, well let’s just say, not quiet and reserved. They are both great joys to my heart and soul. That day I was sitting in the crowd trying to watch two girls standing in two different parts of the stage sing, when God showed me something interesting about my fatherhood that taught me something about his Fatherhood.

As I sat there I would move my eyes and head back and forth between the two of them so they would both know that I was watching them and was proud of them. What I quickly realized was that many times by the time I looked back to the one I had not been watching, they were looking for me to watch them. I would catch their eye and without fail each and every time they would smile. Kara a great big smile followed by louder singing and bigger motions. Melanie with a smaller more steady smile. Her singing and motions would not change so much as her gaze would. Kara would look back at the teacher and jump back into the performance. Melanie on the other hand might get a little distracted from the song because she would keep her eyes on mine.

Honestly, it was neat experience. I pray that my two girls never struggle with feeling valued and important. I want them to know that I am their biggest fan, that I love them, and that I am proud of them.

The thing that really hit me was that the simple gift of my gaze added to their enjoyment. They both enjoyed performing and singing more because they knew I was watching them. Truth is I had no part whatsoever in their performance. I simply was present. I was there and they knew it.

This experience caused me to think about my relationship with my Heavenly Father for a moment. I thought about the fact that he never has to lose his attention on one child to enjoy the other. God is always present. He never misses a performance (like I have had to do because of other responsibilities in my life.) He is always watching.

Then I thought, if I caught the eye of my Lord Jesus Christ right now would it cause me to smile? Would I jump back into what I was already doing with greater joy and enthusiasm?

Or would I cry?

Peter caught the eye of Jesus one night in a courtyard while standing around the fire with powerless people who had asked him a difficult question. He had just denied any relationship to Christ three times. Scripture says that Jesus looked back at him, the rooster crowed, and that Peter ran outside and wept bitterly. He had failed his Savior.

Yet, not many days later, Peter had an interesting conversation with Jesus Christ in which he was restored to a right relationship with him. I think that day Peter wanted to cry again, as his Lord asked him three times, “do you love me?”

Yet there was also a day in which Jesus had asked his disciples who he was and Peter was the first to speak that he was the Christ and Jesus told him that upon that truth he would build his Church.

There were days in Peter’s life that the gaze of the Lord made him smile. Those days he felt more empowered and emboldened to be who he was supposed to be and do what God desired him to do.

So the question I have for you is this, if you caught the Lord’s eye in your life right now would it make you smile or cry? Not would it make him smile or cry, would it make you smile or cry? Would you be proud to be his child or ashamed to be seen by the Father in what you are doing?

I challenge you to live 2010 with that thought as a challenge.

Live the smile. Enjoy the presence of the Father. And give your very best for his pleasure. For He is a loving Father that is ever-watching.

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