Trains, Planes, and the Way of Delight

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I had some time to hang out with my two-year-old nephew over this past weekend. It has been a while since we have had so much time together and I loved watching him interact with the world around him. What really caught my attention was something that has been a part of his personality all along – what Logan likes, he pursues with passion. He puts his whole heart into what he loves.

The moment he woke up from his nap in my car on the way to my house, he showed me his toy plane (it’s name is Dusty). For the entire evening and next day, that plane was in his hand, in his sight, or he was asking for it. He transported Dusty from room to room. He showed Dusty to strangers at a restaurant. If it wasn’t with him, he thought about it and became upset if he couldn’t get his hands on it. Dusty was his faithful companion throughout the entire weekend.

He has an equal fascination with trains. Thomas the train was the first toy he grabbed out of my son’s toy box and Thomas was his request when the tv was on. He gathered Thomas and his train buddies along with Dusty and lined them up. Carefully, he maneuvered them through the air and onto the various tracks, totally caught up in his play. Nothing else mattered – just the train rolling along and the plane in his hand. Whenever we were in a different part of the house, he inevitably said “this way! this way!”and led me back to the trains. Later in the evening, he asked to watch trains and I pulled up a YouTube video of steam engines. For a good solid 15 minutes or so, he watched footage of steam engine trains rumbling over tracks. With each new clip of a train, his excitement did not lessen. He exclaimed again and again- “train! train!” I was fascinated with his fascination and impressed with his focus…he was committed to what he wanted!

It was no chore for him to play. It was not obligation to pick up his little plane or a requirement for him to watch nonstop footage of steam engines. Logan did all of those things because he delights in his plane. He delights in trains. (And I probably don’t have space here to get into how much he delights in Toy Story!) He can’t get enough of these things right now. They are on his mind. If he goes too long without seeing his plane or a train, he searches for them. For this stage of his life, at least, these things are a part of him. He is excited about them. He chooses them over other toys, other shows, other activities. He talks about them, shows them off to anyone he sees. His singular focus is steadfast because of the joy these toys bring to him.

As I consider all this, I am thinking about how Jesus told us to be like little children – in fact, He said that unless we are like little children, we won’t get into the Kingdom of Heaven. And I wonder if this is part of what He meant…this unselfconscious way kids love what they love and choose it above all else.

They hold onto what they delight in.

Holy Spirit, You are our teacher and our guide. Lead us into this kind of delight.
Let this be us. Above all else, we want to choose You. Above all else, we want to pursue Your kingdom. Let this hold-nothing-back way be ours.

You, Father, have always been a hold-nothing-back God.

Your delight in us, Your passion for us, Your love for us caused Jesus to give His life for us. It was Your plan from the beginning, to pursue us and bring us back close to Your heart…and You never wavered. You never forgot us. You sacrificed for us. You chose us.

What You delight in, You hold onto.

And You hold onto us.

Lord, help us to understand Your love through and through, deeper and deeper. Let it be our delight to know You, to follow You, to obey Your Word. Let Your name be on our lips. When we wake up, let it be Your face we are looking to see. If we wander, as we sometimes do, let it be Your soul-satisfying presence that we rush back to – “this way! this way!” always back to You. Let there be so much joy in the love between us that it isn’t contained — let it be You shining through to anyone who comes close to us. May the pursuit of Your presence be our single-minded focus, until we won’t take a step unless You have told us to take it. Let us be like Moses, who said “if Your presence isn’t going to be there, then don’t send me that way.”  Let it be in knowing You more that our satisfaction comes. Let it be in You that we find all we need. Let the first desire of our hearts be Your face, Your voice, Your heart, Your will, Your way.

Let us be like little children, pursuing what we love with our whole hearts. Let delight spring up in us.

What we delight in, we will hold onto.

Lord, I am praying that what we hold onto – ever closer – is You.

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