Viva la France

vivaNumbers 6:24-25 “The Lord bless you
and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you”

I guess I’ve always been a die-hard romantic. When I was in graduate school, my grandpa took me on a tour of the Holy Land.  I’ll never forget our lay-over in Paris. It was my first time out of the country, and the idea that we were actually in Europe awakened every dreamy notion I had ever had. While the rest of the tour group was having lunch, I slipped away to find a French bakery. Before long, I spotted a little café and proceeded to ask the proprietor for a loaf of French bread…in English. He smiled as he gave me the bread and I proceeded to pay for it in American dollars. (I know what you’re thinking…how “ethno-centric” can you get….but I was young and naive, very naïve).

In my confusion, an older French gentleman stepped up and purchased my bread in francs. Although I tried to reimburse him, he insisted on paying for it. “You give to me your smile and I give to you the bread,” he persisted in the most wonderful French accent. Well, that did it. I floated back to the tour group, bread in hand….

So what does all this have to do with God? I think all too often we box God into parameters of pragmatism and efficiency. We think he only rewards us when we “toe-the-line” or perform certain “acts of righteousness.”  But I suspect his arms reach much broader than we realize. I think he delights in giving his children gifts, all kinds of gifts…extravagant sunsets, cool breezes on stifling hot days, crackling fireplaces in winter, profligate forgiveness.

He didn’t have to give me that experience in Paris. But here I am, almost forty years later, writing about it. The recollection directs my attention to a Father who was smiling on his daughter in spite of her silly girlish sentiments and self-focused world. I didn’t recognize him then and that makes me wonder how many times I continue to miss him today.

How about you? Are you aware of how much he longs to bless you? It’s his pleasure….



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