All In

My eldest son sits by the front door, laboriously donning his protective gear to go on his skateboard. He is new to the sport, having received a second hand board for a recent birthday, but is enthusiastic to the extent that the remnants of snow on the ground are not going to put him off (despite my attempts at persuasion).

Two months later, my youngest son is sitting in the same spot asking for help with his soccer boots and shin pads. He is heading out to kick the ball around with his brother, but has already spent a good ten minutes choosing the perfect footballing t-shirt and finding the gear that has been buried at the back of his wardrobe.

One of the qualities I love about both of my sons is that they are ‘all in’. Whether it’s skateboarding, school, that Sleeping Queens game or protestations about bed time…they are ‘all in’. Energy levels are high, and there’s no holding back. This is wonderfully evident when they find themselves amidst a new crowd (a frequent occurrence in our book-adventuring travels) as they recruit all and everyone for their conversational desires and game-playing plans.

My sister and I have been dwelling deeply in Psalm 119 as our podcast has kicked off a new season digging into this lengthy, treasure-filled chapter of the Bible. I have been struck again and again by the psalmist’s ‘all in’ attitude as he seeks to run in the ways of the Lord. Again and again, he asks God to open his eyes to the wonderful things in His word because he knows that his life is secure through the gracious promises that stack up behind every statement and command. ‘Save me, for I am yours’, he says and then goes on to declare that God’s statutes are ‘the joy of my heart’. The writer is ‘all in’ from the very depths of his heart, and to the very edges of his existence. He hangs off every word of his God, because he knows that he has the firmest of footings with Him.

As I’ve been reading, pondering and praying in response to this psalm, I’ve loved watching the heart-deep dives that the psalmist takes as he cries out to the Lord at every juncture, and eagerly speaks of the Lord to whoever will listen. My sons are heart-deep into whatever their day brings, but this level of ‘all in’ shouts of life-giving certainties that make me want to jump in with him rather than dither on the edge.

The psalmist writes from the other side of the cross. He trusts God’s promises for salvation, and jumps ‘all in’. I hear the psalmist from this side of the cross, and am reminded that my hesitancy can become a heart-deep dive because of the spilt, redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. And so I pray that I might be able to sing with the psalmist of ‘all in’ delight in my saving God as I seek to run in his commands, echoing my sons’ deep dives in every aspect of life.

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