Dad’s ability to play poker served him well during World War II while on board ship. The men would often pass the time playing cards. Depending how close to payday it was–or how long since–the stakes would vary. Dad knew what it was like to be on the winning and losing end of a hand.
There were four of us kids, and he thought it wise to teach us all to play poker. Games were a big deal in our home, and this required only a deck of cards. We had so much fun playing, mostly because Dad could bluff all of us, and not a one of us had a really good poker face.
I did learn that four of a kind is usually a winning hand.
That’s also been true in my life. There were four of us kids growing up, and we have remained close all these years even though we differ on many things. John and I began our marriage with all four of our parents in tact–we learned a lot from each of them.
I’ve had the joy of spending time with my Pennsylvania family, who just added a fourth son to their number. Living so far from Orlando and the added challenge of COVID, we didn’t get to see them much in the last year and a half. I’ve been having the time of my life helping with their new little one and spending time with these little guys.
The tough part was having to reintroduce myself to them. They’re 7, 5, 3, and almost two months of age, so long periods of time apart can cause unintended forgetfulness and shyness. It feels a bit like a setback, but I’ve been up for the challenge. We’ve talked, laughed, and played what they wanted to play. I know how to ask questions. And I’ve learned to listen better.
The four of them are delightful in their own right–they love and fight equally well, as brothers often do. Being included in their play or conversations makes me feel loved.
I believe God feels that way about us. So often, it seems right to consider the truth of Jesus and pursue Him, but life gets in the way and we wander. Or we don’t get an answer we wanted and just give up on God completely. Time apart from Him makes being with Him harder. It doesn’t feel intimate but artificial. More like duty than delight.
God never sees it that way. Once we’re in relationship with Him, He refuses to stop loving us.
“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing–nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable–absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Lord has embraced us.” Romans8:38-39
Unlike people, who can forget you, or cards, where luck is needed, God loves us no matter what–if we turn to Him. Because of who He is, when He chooses to love us, He won’t quit on us.
These four amazing boys may forget me once I’m gone for a long while. And I’ve always had rotten luck with cards.
But I am now and always will be loved by the God who’s made it all.
That’s what I call a winning hand.