Recently, I took my family on vacation for Spring Break. We drove up from our home in Florida to Huntsville, Al. to visit my parents and then headed on to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I had a special surprise for my daughter while we were there. For a while she has begged me to go horseback riding, so I finally decided to take her.
We woke early on our first day there and drove out to Cades Cove in Smoky Mountain National Park. There, tucked away near the campground, is the Cades Cove riding stables. When Emma realized what we were doing, she freaked out as only an 8-year-old could. With a smile on her face, she tore out of the car as soon as I had it in park. She looked around for a moment and then came running up to me wrapping her arms around me and screaming “Thank you Daddy!” over and over again.
Needless to say, her reaction made me feel on top of the world. There’s nothing better than to see uncontrolled excitement and gratitude from my daughter when I do something special for her. I liken it to the pride God, our Father in heaven, must feel when we are appreciative of what he gives us. He is our loving Father, most pleased when he is giving to us out of his measureless love. Romans 8:32 tells us, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” And Psalm 84:11 reads, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
I can definitely learn a lesson from how Emma reacted to her horseback riding trip. God gives me wonderful blessings every day out of his love and grace. My job is to recognize that love and respond with faith, trust, and gratitude. And in the end, I can run into his arms and yell, “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!”