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In Our Father's Lap

By Michael Roop

I began 2021 with the goal of reestablishing my morning routine. Nothing fancy, just getting up at 6 AM, prioritizing coffee and time in God’s Word before the rest of the house wakes up. It’s a relatively small change to my life that basically consists of setting my alarm and refusing to hit snooze.

One morning, I was having a particularly good reflection on Matthew 9:14-26. Jesus is in the middle of explaining to the disciples of John the Baptist why His disciples weren’t fasting like they were. That’s when He was interrupted by a desperate father whose daughter was either dead or just about to be. So Jesus gets up to go heal this little girl. On the way, He is interrupted again, this time by a desperate woman looking for relief from a chronic bleeding condition.

I was reflecting on the interruptability of Jesus - His singular focus on the people around Him, His unwavering knowledge that the people are the mission, and compassion is the means - when it happened. I heard the door to my sons’ bedroom open. Before I could put pen to paper and internalize some of my thoughts, I was interrupted.

My younger son emerged from his room in the usual early morning daze. Hair askew, eyes squinting against the light, he walked over to me and raised his hands, and I responded to his wordless request by picking him up and carrying him to the comfy chair in our family room. And there we sat, him on my lap, his head on my chest, for about 20 minutes. Not much conversation, no phrases to memorize, no virtues to explore or vices to remove. Just us, together.

And then it hit me: this is why I get up at 6 AM. Not so much about having a “productive” quiet time. Not so much about memorizing a new verse. Not so much about acknowledging sins from the day before. Not so much about picking a new virtue to implement that day. All good things, but not the point. I wake up at 6am to sit in my Heavenly Daddy’s lap. To feel the warmth of His presence. To adjust to the light of a new day with my head on His chest.

After sitting together in that chair for a while, my son got up. We started our day. I eventually went to work, physically separated from my family and longing to return to that chair with them. I am a finite being, physically limited to one place at one time. But our God is not. He is present in all time and all space at every moment. And more than that, because of Jesus’ cleansing blood shed on the cross, we have become a habitable temple for the Holy Spirit, God’s presence with us wherever and whenever we are.

So I drive to work with my head on my Heavenly Daddy’s chest. I preach sitting in His lap. I converse with my congregation in His warm embrace. I love my family enjoying the warmth of His presence. At every moment, I am free to experience, delight in, rest in the presence of God just as my son rested on my lap that morning. I get up at 6am to remind myself that every day is lived in the tender embrace of our loving God.