And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Father's Laughing Cry

For the last several weeks, Lance and I have encouraged Mackenzie to stand during the singing portion of our Sunday church service because we know that she knows most of the songs (she has them on her Ipod), and we want to encourage her participation in worship. Today she was very willing to sing and participate.

We sang, Jesus Paid It All, one of her favorite songs. She began singing quietly. As the instruments got louder and more people joined in the singing, Mackenzie got louder as well. When we got to the chorus portion of the song that repeats the phrase, "He washed it white as snow," Mackenzie was belting it out. Several people began giggling around us - probably partly because it was sweet to hear such a small child worship and also partly because she was VERY off-tune.

I was one who started giggling. But I also started crying. All at the same time. Not a good combination when you are in church and don't want to disturb those around you! Have you ever had that uncontrollable laughing-crying-all-at-the-same-time experience?

It is pretty obvious why I was laughing, but I wanted to write this post to share the reason I was crying. When I heard her voice, very off tune, but totally genuine, I felt so pleased that she was singing to the Lord. As a parent, I want nothing more than to see my child surrender to Jesus Christ. In my pleasure, God revealed to me that the joy I received from hearing her belt out those words is a glimpse of what He feels when one of His creation gives their heart to Him.

She was not singing the right notes and in the musical sense, it was loud and terrible. It made me think of how sin makes my worship "off-tune" as well, and how the Bible tells me that my righteousness is but filthy rags.

Yet even so, my Heavenly Father delights in me. I thought about the phrase she sang, "Sin has left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow." Tears rolled down my face while my heart laughed with joy as God used her untamed voice and those powerful words to reveal a beautiful image to me...When my Father's weak, "off-tune" children surrender their will to Him and allow Him to wipe away their stains, I think God must have a holy laughing-crying-all-at-the-same-time experience.

We are so blessed to have a Father who wants us just as we are and delights in genuine worship. It does not matter how off-tune or stained we seem on earth because when we give Jesus our heart, to Him we are washed as white as snow.