After all, it’s not often you see a man walking the neighborhood barely dressed.
Moments before I’d left the end-of-the-season baseball party for my son and his teammates at a local school play yard. For two hours, we’d played a rambunctious, hilarious, and definitely NOT professional baseball game, parents against kids. It was full of laughter and base stealing and far too much cheating. But as the sun set over the Rocky Mountains, I thought how the evening couldn’t be more perfect.
Then, I jumped in my car and turned toward home. But as I left the baseball field behind, I noticed a man walking slowly on the side walk, barefoot, shirtless, and seemingly aimless.
And, pressed close against his bare chest, a baby. Maybe nine or ten months old, her legs pulled up under a yellow dress and her near-bald head tucked under the man’s chin.
It didn’t take much imagination to piece together what likely led the shirtless man to the sidewalk.
As the day neared its end, his baby girl grew fussy, restless. Perhaps she had a tummy ache or was cutting a new tooth. Or maybe she was simply inconsolable and beyond distraction. Whatever the reason, he’d scooped up his girl and had taken her outside, where he slowly paced the warm summer sidewalk, back and forth, the gleam of the day’s fading light covering them both.
However fussy she might’ve been before, I couldn’t see any sign of it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a baby so content. She snuggled into her daddy’s chest, her velvet-soft cheek pressed against his bare skin, her legs wrapped up in his strong arms. She didn’t so much as move a hand or foot, didn’t need to—Her daddy had it covered.
I tried not to stare as I drove by, but couldn’t help myself, continuing to watch after I passed with the help of the review mirror.
It’s been a long time since I felt that safe, a long time since someone held me tight like a newborn and promised me everything would be okay. I’ve worn grown-up skin for a long time now. Rarely do I sleep like a baby girl in her father’s arm. Adulthood, as good as it often is, often wears heavy, filled with realities I can’t pretend I don’t know.
But about as fast as I felt a twinge disappointment, I remembered a promise I dare not forget:
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
—Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)
I am no longer a child whose greatest pain is a toothache or tummy ache. Just as I’ve outgrown a daddy’s arms, real life has outgrown a child’s simple comfort. I need more, something more than a promise from a friend or family member that everything will be okay.
I need a Word from Someone with enough authority and sovereignty to make such a claim. And no human holds that kind of power.
He will not leave, will not stop loving and fighting for the those He loves. And if I pause long enough to sink into His promise, I can almost feel my cheek against His bare chest, His arms wrapping up my legs, His heartbeat regulating my own.
And as I drove home with the final rays of the day’s sun shining in my window, I felt myself slipping into peace. Contentment. Like a newborn who knows everything will be okay as long as she’s held in the Father’s arms.