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by Max Lucado


    A few weeks ago I traveled to the Midwest to pick up my two oldest daughters. They’d spent a week at camp. This wasn’t their first time at camp, but it was their first time so far from home. The camp was great and the activities outstanding, but their hearts were heavy. They missed their mom and dad. And Mom and Dad weren’t doing so well either.

    Not wanting to risk any delayed flights, I flew up a day early. Parents weren’t allowed to see their kids until 5:00 P.M., so I enjoyed the area, visited a few sights, and kept an eye on the time. My purpose wasn’t to sightsee. My purpose was my kids.

    I arrived at the camp at 3:00 P.M. A rope was stretched across the dirt road, and a sign dangling from the rope reminded me, “Parents may not enter until 5:00 P.M.”

    I wasn’t alone at the rope. Other parents were already present. There was a lot of glancing at wristwatches. No in-depth conversations, just the expected “How are you?” “Where are you from?” and “How many kids?” Nothing much beyond that. Our minds were down that dirt road. At about 4:30, I noticed a few dads positioning themselves near the rope. Not to be outdone, I did the same. Though most of the slots were taken, there was room for one more parent. I squeezed past one mother who was unaware that the horses had been called to the track. I felt sorry for her, but not enough to give her my spot.

    With five minutes to go, conversation ended. No more playing games; this was serious stuff. The cars were on the track. The runners were in the blocks. The countdown was on. All we needed was someone to lower the rope.

    Two camp counselors appeared to perform the honors. They knew better than to take one end of the rope and cross the road to allow the parents to enter. Such a move would have been fatal; they wouldn’t have survived the stampede. Rather than endanger their lives, each took one end of the rope and, on a prearranged signal, lowered it to the ground. (They had done this before.)

    We were off!

    I was ready for this moment. I had waited long enough. I began with a brisk walk, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a dad starting to trot. So that’s what it’s going to take, eh? Good thing I was wearing jogging shoes. I broke into a run. Enough preliminaries. The hour had struck and the rope was down, and I was willing to do what it took to see my kids.

    God feels the same.

God feels the same.
    God is ready to see his own. He, too, is separated from his children. He, too, will do whatever is necessary to take them home. Yet, his desire leaves ours in the dust. Forget plane trips and rental cars: we’re talking incarnation and sacrifice. Forget a night in a hotel; how about a lifetime on earth! I went from the state of Texas to the state of Missouri. He went from the state of being worshiped in heaven to being a baby in Bethlehem.

    Why? He knows his children are without their father. And he knows we are powerless to return without his help. “Andrea! Jenna! I’m here!” I shouted as I ran down the camp road. (I won the race.) I spotted Andrea first. She was under a canopy preparing to practice gymnastics. I called her name again. “Daddy!” she yelled and jumped into my arms.

    There was no guarantee she’d respond. Though I had flown a thousand miles, rented a car, and waited an hour, she could have seen me and — heaven forbid! — ignored me. Some kids are too grown up to run to their parent in front of their friends.

    But then there are those who have had enough camp food and mosquito repellent to make them jump for joy at the sight of their father. Such was the case with Andrea.

    All of a sudden, Andrea had gone from feeling homesick to feeling happy. Why? Only one difference. Her father had come to take her home.

      Excerpted with permission from The Heart of a Father, a compilation of great stories about fathers, edited by Wayne Holmes. Originally from In the Grip of Grace, 1996.

      Title: ""
      Author: Max Lucado
      Publication Date: June 16, 2001


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