When my son was barely old enough to speak, he would grab my hand pull me toward the living room floor with the word "fes -ul." In his toddler language this was a close as he could get to properly saying the word, "wrestle." I would often oblige, crawling off the couch and onto my knees. As soon as I made myself shorter than him, he would climb all over me trying to pin me. Surprise rear attacks were his specialty. The problem with his surprise rear attacks though, was the "attack" was usually preceded by some growl or loud grunt. Thus, negating the surprise. Anyway, these periodic wrestling bouts continued as he got older and stronger. With the passing months I would have to up my game to ensure victory for both of us. Little boys love to wrestle with their dads. Here's what I think about these bouts between father and son.
1. My son didn't really want to win. Or to say it the other way, he really wanted me to win. Now, I'm not saying he wasn't trying to win. I'm not saying anything here about his competitiveness or will to win at all. He is very competitive! But deep down he wanted his dad to be stronger than him. Every little boy does. There is something incredibly reassuring about knowing that someone in this world, that loves you, is stronger than you are. There is something comforting in knowing that the biggest and closest male in your life is seemingly (at least to a little guy) invincible. He really wanted me to win. So I obliged :)
2. Regularly wrestling with Dad provided benchmarks of his own growth and strength. Honestly, the older he gets the more it hurts. Because he is getting stronger, and because time is no respecter of persons I know eventually one day (when I'm 90) he'll beat me. But in the meantime each bout encourages him, by showing that he's getting bigger and stronger. He is maturing and this good. He is becoming more like his dad.
God and Me
Something in us knows that we are not the strongest force in our lives. We know, deep down, someone's stronger. And we fight against him. But, if we are honest, the little boy in all of us, really wants to know that our Father is stronger than we are. And our willingness to fight him only illustrates our desire to be more like him and to be reassured that He and his Strength are still there. We want to know that there is One that is for us, and far stronger than us. And that gives me courage. I like knowing my Dad's got my back...always.
As we grow physically and emotionally our struggles with Dad get more intense. The intellectual, spiritual bouts we have with God over things we don't understand or simply don't like, get more intense. But we should know God is strong enough. He is good. He is strong. He is not intimidated by our 'fighting back', rather he is encouraged by it because it shows that we are maturing. And like any loving Father, that ultimate goal for all of his children is for them to grow up strong.
“Father, thank you for wrestling with us. Thank you for your strength. The very strength (your strength) that we fight against is the strength that, down deep, gives us courage and hope. Thank you that you are for us and far stronger than us. You proved this though the power of your Son, and our Lord, Jesus. Amen.”