So, here’s the thing—I like football. I mean, I really like it. College, pro, whatever.
(I’m partial to the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints.)
I’m pretty sure it goes back to my childhood when my family lived in Luling, Louisiana, a small town just outside of New Orleans. My dad would manage to get tickets to see the Saints play at Tulane Stadium on a Sunday afternoon (yes, we would slip out of church services a few minutes early) and he would take my sister and me with him, giving my mom a much-needed break.
There, in the upper section, Dad would cheer/moan/groan as Archie Manning did his best to carry his teammates to victory (um…didn’t usually happen). And it was there that a ten-year-old girl fell in love with the game.
I can close my eyes and be back in that stadium—surrounded by cheers, whistles, (some boos), and the teasing aromas of hotdogs and roasted peanuts. I can hear the echoes of a soulful refrain…Oh when the saints, go marching in…
I can feel my younger sister sitting close to me as Dad did his best to explain the magic of football—in words that two little girls could understand. My young heart exploded with the thrill of a passing play and the occasional touchdown. I can hear Dad’s laughter as I agonized over why they would insist on trying to run the ball. Daddy, it never works…why do they keep doing it?
Being around my dad—watching him love the game, infused me with energy. I wanted to know about all things football and I soaked up his descriptions of positions and plays.
I loved my dad. And I wanted to love what he loved.
That’s the kind of relationship that our Heavenly Father wants with us—but on a much grander scale. In fact, He died to make it possible.
God pursues us, wooing us to His heart.
The Creator of the Universe desires an intimate, personal, love-relationship with His creation. He longs for us.
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19)
Our Creator God crafted breathtaking detail for us—in the natural world, and in the people around us. He offers us a life of abundance—the opportunity for joy and peace over discouragement and fear. Our Abba Father wants us to catch His vision and passion for this world.
He longs to teach us—and He thrills to see us get excited about what He’s excited about.
Look, Child! I painted this sunrise just for you. I cued the geese to fly in formation and the cicadas to serenade you. I made the stallion toss his head while the swallows swoop and dive in wild abandon.
I placed in you a longing for purity and holiness. I deposited a touch of eternity in your heart so that you would be dissatisfied with the things of this world.
Precious child, pay attention. I am working in your life. I am refining you to be fully you. Isn’t this thrilling? Oh, the plans I have for you!
Come, my love. There are deeper waters to be explored…
Loving God gives energy, purpose, and direction—and the strength and ability to love what and who He loves.
With Him, there are no losing seasons, only victory and triumph. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Can you hear the sweet refrains?
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in!