Her name is Elena (EL-e-na) Grace, born February 28, 2013. As you can see, she sports a fuzzy round head and pudgy cheeks. What you can’t see are her feet–long and slender like her father’s.
Now two months old, she studies her surroundings and tracks right and left the toys we jiggle for her. Elena already likes books, too. Wide, blue eyes take in as much as possible before the page turns. As her grandmother, I’m delighted to play and read, just to see her reactions.
Elena’s father, our son, is an artist. A number of his paintings hang in their home. Hold Elena in front of one and she scrutinizes it carefully.
“Wow!” her eyes seem to say. “Have you ever seen such creativity? Such interesting spatial composition? What intriguing juxtaposition! Such beauty.” (Yes, I’m sure these would be her comments if Elena could talk. Grandmothers know these things.)
Early in April she began to smile. Each time her little face lit up, my spirit lifted.
And then came the first “coo,” followed by many more. No doubt Elena thinks she’s joining in the conversation. We listen closely to catch every “word.”
Is this how it is for our Heavenly Father?
Does his heart fill with delight when we revel in His creation, as Elena delights in her daddy’s paintings? Does he experience joy when we take pleasure in his blessings, much as we take pleasure in Elena’s smiles? Surely so.
Psalm 69 gives us a hint: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord” (Psalm 69:30-31a). One of God’s names is Creator. He is also God of grace. What a privilege–to make the King of the universe smile, simply by expressing praise and thanksgiving for what he has made, and what he has done.
Does he listen closely to every word (as we listen for Elena’s coos)–even to our thoughts that defy words?
“He delights in genuine prayers” (Proverbs 15:8b, MSG).
“If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans” (Romans 8:26, MSG).
God listens and responds, even to inarticulate prayers.
Why? His love for us is wide and long and high and deep (Ephesians 3:18), in spite of our shortcomings and disobedience. Incredible, isn’t it?
Thank you, Father, for your loving kindness, your forgiveness and empowering presence. Thank you for treasuring us even more than we treasure our families. And thank you for little Elena, who brings new attention to familiar, old truths.