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Tickle Fights With God

I get the privilege of watching the sun rise every morning with a handful of kids on the bus. I love the sunrise. I love the breathtaking beauty of the explosion of colors. I love the magic of dark getting overtaken by light and the hope that rises like a flag as the sun makes it’s way to the top of the sky. Everyday, a new proclamation of how the story ends.

The other day we were captivated by the bright streaky colors flashing across the sky when Michael calmly and confidently said, “I made that sunrise.” I was kinda taken aback by the confidence in his voice. He said it like he really believed he had created the sunrise and put it in the sky. So I pushed back and tried to turn it into a perfect space to insert my theology of God the creator…how dare Michael try to rob God of the Glory only He deserves.

So I started my monologue. Michael listened politely for a minute and then agreed with me and said again with confidence, “I know God put the sunrise in the sky, but I made that one in art class last week.” Michael genuinely believes that God saw the sunrise he painted in art class and that God loved it so much that He added it to the rotation of sunrises He’d put on display. He wasn’t shocked or in awe that God loved his artwork so much that He would repaint it in the sky for the whole world to see. In that moment, my heart longed to have faith like Michael’s. To believe in a God who is so pleased with me, who loves me so big, a God who proudly puts my art on display.

Now I look at each sunrise and wonder who painted that one? Who inspired God to use those colors in those ways. It’s a fascinating way to watch the sunrise.

Just a few days later there was another spectacular display of colors that demanded our attention. We were gasping at the radiance of the pinks and the electricity of the oranges when Preston declared that he knew how God makes the sun rise. I was curious. Preston is in kindergarten and says silly things like, “that feels me sad” when he’s upset or “I’m allergic to bug flies” when he sneezes and “boom shacka-lacka” when he’s proud of his work. I couldn’t wait to see how his logic and language skills would collide to say something that would make me laugh. With assuredness, he said, “God just tickles the sun until it wakes up.”

In my mind I could see the joy in God’s eyes as He crept up to the sun that morning and with a jolly laugh tickled her until neither of them could breathe anymore and then said, “Let’s use that one Michael made in art class the other day, he nailed it.”

Typically, I picture God sitting pretty stoically. Slightly irritated and a little disinterested, but present nonetheless. I too often picture a God who glances over the good and narrows in on my failures, a God who is disappointed. It is always children that change that view of God for me. Kids who relish in the mystery of a present God who is full of joy, a God who sends snow and sunrises as gifts. They see a God who loves tickle fights and celebrating art work and a God who sees and knows and is present in all the details in the most intricate and interested of ways.

I don’t know how the sun rises each morning with such glory, but I do know that I want to create more space to see the world through the eyes of kids, eyes that aren’t jaded, eyes that are captivated by the invitation of God to enjoy Him. And maybe if I work up enough courage I’ll invite God in to tickle away the darkness in my own heart, to laugh together until neither of us can breathe. Maybe joy is found in tickle fights with God.

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