Stephanie Rische

Stubbing My Toe on Grace

The Joy of “Again!” May 22, 2012

Filed under: 2 Samuel,Psalms — Stephanie Rische @ 8:06 am
Tags: , ,

“I can’t go to sleep, Daddy,” Lyla said. “My heart is crying.”

My brother and his family were on vacation in Florida, and he’d gone in to check on my three-year-old niece, who was supposed to be napping.

He put his hand on the top of her head. “Why is your heart crying?”

“My heart wants to go in the water. It won’t stop crying until it can go swimming again.”

Never mind the fact that she’d been splashing in the pool all day yesterday, she’d been out the entire morning that day, and tomorrow would be more of the same. Her little heart never tired of this bliss. Again, Daddy!

I have to confess that at this point I’m getting a bit bogged down in my chronological reading. Yes, I love the fact that the psalms are right next to the events that inspired them, and David has enough drama to put Days of Our Lives to shame. The part that’s getting to me is the repetition.

Ever since I hit the book of 2 Samuel, I’ve been getting waves of scriptural déjà vu. About halfway through my daily readings, I find myself stopping to wonder, Didn’t I just read that? And then I realize I’m getting the story a second time, this time from the 1 Chronicles perspective.

I wish I could say I jump at the chance to ingest these truths a second time around, soaking them in over my cup of coffee, but that’s not how things typically pan out. I find myself skimming the repeated sections, my mind wandering toward my ever-lurking to-do list. My sense of efficiency takes offense at such repetition.

 

But my brother’s story stops me short. Is this what it means to have a childlike faith? To be a child, after all, is to love repetition, to be fully present in the moment. To be a child is to beg your father, “Again! Again!”

G. K. Chesterton poses the idea that children may be onto something spiritual in their love of repetition:

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, Do it again; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough….It is possible that God says every morning, Do it again, to the sun; and every evening, Do it again, to the moon. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

I just read David’s song of praise twice—once from 2 Samuel and once from the Psalms. But this time when I got to the repeated bits, I tried to approach them like a child—with delight in the repetition.

I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name. . . .
You show unfailing love to your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.
—2 Samuel 22:50-51

I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name. . . .
You show unfailing love to your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.
—Psalm 18:49-50

May I take my cue from little Lyla: Again, Daddy! Again!

***

 

Question: What do the little people in your life teach you about childlike faith?

I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.

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7 Responses to “The Joy of “Again!””

  1. maggierowe Says:

    I liked this post so much that I read it again and again! A wonderful way to regard the significance of repetition in scripture. I am forwarding this one to Mike as a possible sermon illustration. 🙂

  2. “Again! Again!”

  3. alice Teisan Says:

    This AM as I left home knowing I was speaking to children I thought of my 92 y.o. friend Etta Mae (92 back in the 70’s). She said, when young people look at me they see an old wrinkled body. But what they can’t see is that I’m a big kid at heart. So that’s what one of my young friends taught me-the more kid we have in us the more we know how to be a kid! And you’ve reminded us of how the more we need to take time to embrace repetition.

  4. alice Teisan Says:

    I never want to lose the kid in me. I just want it to keep growing bigger. After all Jesus digs kids too!


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