They sat side by side at the café table. A little girl, hair messily pulled into a ponytail, pink winter jacket unzipped on this unseasonably warm winter day. Her daddy’s dark hair such a contrast to the blondness of the girl. Each had a bagel spread with strawberry cream cheese and between bites conversation flowed.
I could hear the girl relating tidbits of information from a recent project she presented in the classroom and her daddy intently listening. Occasionally he asked a question, pausing respectfully to hear her answer: “How did you feel about standing in front of everyone?” As only little girls can do, she rolled her eyes while replying, “Oh, Daddy, it was a snap.” When she named friends at a birthday party, Daddy asked, “Oh, was that Megan or Kathy?” He was genuinely interested in the events and people of the girl’s life. Through all the time I observed them, I never saw the father’s eyes swerve from his daughter’s face as she talked. He was totally “in tune” with this child who had little in common with his education, career or life outside these moments. They were totally “with” each other.
It was clear to me that the little girl was “the apple of his eye,” a term meaning one adored above all others. This phrase was used frequently in English literature, and David records these words in one of his psalms: Guard me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings; David obviously secure in God’s love. The café conversation I overheard left no doubt that the little girl was cherished, loved, respected, esteemed. And the way she leaned into her daddy spoke volumes about her trust in him.
Does this experience describe my relationship with God? My conversations with him? Do I freely share with him the events and people of my day, talking friend to friend? Do I “lean into” him, listening for his responses? Can I imagine his eyes gazing into my own? His ears hearing not only my words but the motives and feelings beneath my words? In a world that devalues me, surrounded by busy onlookers who seem to ignore my presence because the next-best-thing (or person) is just around the corner, can I accept that he sees me as the “apple of his eye”?
During this week—the week before The Week when we walk sorrowfully with Jesus toward the cross—take time to imagine, pray for, seek this intimate relationship that is so freely offered by that same Jesus. Dwell as the apple of his eye.