Chasing Children: Reflections From a Father

“Chase me, Daddy!” Greyson calls out in his sweet, two-year old voice. “Chase me!”

His brothers follow in unison. “Chase us, Daddy!”

I’ll pretend like I don’t hear them as their anticipation begins to rise. Then, in a sudden movement, I’ll jump up and watch them scatter in three different directions, laughing as they run.

We usually end up wrestling in a pile on the floor.

They could do this for hours.

I wish I could say the same. I usually wear out before they do.

Even more, I’m exhausted. It feels like I lack the mental and physical energy to constantly engage.

However, I try to soak up every minute because I know my boys won’t always want to play with their father. That’s a heavy reality to be reminded of, but one I must prepare for. And that’s why I need to chase my boys.

If I may be so bold, every father needs to chase his children.

We need to chase after their little hearts every day, assuring them of our love for them, our pride in them, and our hope for their future.

But it can’t start there.

Our chasing after them has to start with a chasing of our own.

"Chase me, Daddy"

“Chase me, Daddy”

I’ve been reading through the Gospels this week, trying to insert myself in the story; an attempt to see Holy Week through the eyes of the disciples and feel the weight of the cross.

In very vivid language we see the disciples struggle to understand the reality of Jesus’ ministry. They want so desperately to believe, but they battle the tension of an earthy king versus a heavenly King–an earthly father versus a heaven Father.

Yet as they begin to believe, they watch their friend and their teacher be crucified before their eyes. It was a gruesome death. The death of a thief. The death of a murderer.

John stood in the crowd watching his friend hang on the cross. And of all places, he stood beside Jesus’ mother, Mary. This shows me the love and passion these individuals had for each other.

After Jesus’ death, his body was prepared for burial in the tomb, and there He lie for three days.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running… – John 20:1-4

This imagery met me head on, like a collision with my soul.

These disciples were running–they were chasing something.

John reaches the tomb first. I see him fall to his knees, barely able to make out the strips of linen cloth, as he squints his eyes in the early morning light. These were the cloths used to wrap Jesus’s body and they were lying on the ground.

His chest contracts from his heavy breathing; his heart races from the chase and from the anticipation.

Could it really be? Just a few days before – on Friday – he had watched his friend die. He had looked upon the One they had pierced.

About that time, Peter catches up and runs past John into the tomb. It’s empty.

These men are chasing the truth.

John slowly rises to his feet and steps into the tomb to see for himself.

Could it really be?

In his own account of his experience, he used these words:

He saw and believed.  (verse 8)

No spectacular imagery. No name-in-lights. No fireworks. No chorus line singing Hallelujah.

Just an empty tomb.

And John believed.

He saw clearly the picture Jesus was painting all along.

Seek and you will find. (Matthew 7:7)

Then the thought hit me: chasing the truth leads to belief.

Chasing is difficult. We end up tiring out and running becomes too difficult, so we stop. Or, there may be something that side tracks our chase and we end up running in a different direction.

These discouragements have a way of tarnishing the truth and we often end up chasing the wrong things in pursuit of an alternative.

Too often, we only feel the weight of Good Friday and the pain of the crucifixion. Jesus knew that’s how we’d feel. That’s why He didn’t stop there. He wanted to show us that we are worth chasing.

The tomb is empty. The stone has been rolled away. He isn’t held captive by death, He overcomes it. He’s no longer bound to the suffering, he’s free. He’s loose.

And that’s why we must chase him.

As I think back to my boys, they simply request, “Chase me, Daddy!”

In a world full of distractions, “Chase me.”

And today, I smile because I know that Jesus asks the same.

MH

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  • Al Sheneman

    I believe we need to chase after our children each day, regardless of their ages. while there will come a time where they have their own lives, families, and careers, they still need our support, encouragement, and wisdom.. As parents, what we have to learn as they grow older is to wait on them to seek it and to be available when they do. We do not need to “force” anything on them.

    • Al – Like the NT says there is a time for spiritual milk and a time for real food. Likewise as a parent. There are times to chase and times to wait. All part of the maturing process! Love you brother – hope y’all have a glorious celebration this weekend!

  • Amy Stewart

    Thank you for a beautiful reminder when recently I had been giving up on the chase…..how good is it to be nudged in this way by a fellow sojourner….

    • Hey Amy! I’m so glad you stopped by and that you felt nudged. I can totally relate to feeling weary. Keep running! God bless!

  • Linda Andres

    Matt, Nice to read one of your posts again. Ever since a special time I read John to my father, the book has meant more to me than it ever did before. I love the way you have seen God in the interaction you have with your boys.

    • Hey Linda!! It’s so good to hold you again. Missed keeping up with everyone from the 500 group. Kids have a way of showing you the beauty and love of God, yet at the same time how tangled up in sin you are.

      Thank you so much for stopping by don’t be a stranger.

      • Linda Andres

        The group changes daily. There are many new faces but only a few are adding posts. Hope all is well.

        • Well I’m still writing!! And I’m sure you are. Stay in touch.

          • Linda Andres

            I am finding more ease in writing now like I have my own writing voice. It is still growing but I can see it more now.

  • Beth

    I’m enjoying and appreciating your messages. Glad to have found you. I’ve been reminded recently to chase after learning to love as He has loved us. It’s a difficult time for my family with my husband currently deployed and my oldest deploying soon. But God has placed on my heart to read the book Love Dare. It’s only been a week since picking it up but oh how when we focus on God’s kind of love do you begin to look at everything with fresh eyes. My family may be seperated in many directions but distance doesn’t need to keep me from chasing after loving them…it’s still an opportunity for such spiritual growth in all of us. Blessings to you.

    • Hey Beth! I am so glad that we’ve connected as well. I admire and deeply appreciate your family’s service to our country. What an amazing sacrifice they make.

      Bob Goff is amazing, isn’t he?

      I love your imagery – the eyes of love. What would it look like to see the world through that lens?