This article was originally published in the November 2022 edition of ITMI Monthly.
I am the grandfather that has to fight for his life three to four times a week. I have a five-year-old grandson named Wyatt. Wyatt loves to “wrestle” with his “Pops”.
Which seems to break out often when we get together. He also loves it when I chase him in the house or in the yard, growling and grunting like a monster who is after this, tall for his age, but still small and active blond-headed, bright-eyed boy.
He also loves to ask his best-friend-Nana (the name he so lovingly calls Darlene) with an extra portion of impish joy to play Legos, read a book, or whatever other adventure the two of them get into with play-dough or colored slime.
Before our regular intense wrestling bouts commence, Wyatt in his trusting, simplistic mind thinks that Pops can do anything, including catching a full-speed leaping five-year-old no matter what position or condition Pops is in. Thankfully, Pops has not dropped this four-foot-tall hurtling mass of giggling, arm-swinging, knee-protecting, ball of energy...yet!
Wyatt loves his Pops, I know that - but he probably loves his Nana even more. She is with him far more than I am able due to ministry obligations. She fixes him special lunches, she sits and really talks with him on his level, she allows him to use his imagination when they play with Hot Wheels cars together. She really is amazing with him...and he loves her deeply for it.
Wyatt is still a five-year-old. He mostly thinks and operates like a five-year-old. Sometimes it is about him and only him. Sometimes he is incredibly insightful and then other times he creates burst-out-laughing moments.
I share all this with you, hopefully not to brag on my grandson, as I am sure that each of you have at least as many precious interactions and stories of your own grandchildren, but to tell you how God used him to remind me of HIS love for me and the sacrifice HE paid for me and you.
In Wyatt's and Pops' wrestling matches, Pops goal is to “get”, or tickle, Wyatt either on his belly, under his arms, or under his chin. I try to do this by blowing bubbles instead of tickling with my fingers. He has a love-hate relationship with this activity.
He begs me to “wrestle” and then uses every muscle, bony knee, elbow, foot and finger to keep me from blowing on his bare skin, all the while grunting and giggling. Pops is getting more and more “beat-up” in this activity as Wyatt gets bigger and stronger.
Wyatt loves to include Pops and Nana in all his adventures and activities. So the other day I figured that Wyatt and I should go and “get” Nana and blow air bubbles on her. Well, Nana is quite ticklish, and when I led the way to “get” her, she started to giggle and then laugh even louder before I could even tickle her.
I totally believed that Wyatt would have been right there beside me messing with Nana.
But I could not have been more wrong.
While Nana was playing along and fighting me off, laughing and squealing, a small set of arms wrapped around me from behind and pulled for all his 45 pounds could pull.
When his strength was not enough to “save” his Nana, he turned around and quietly laid on the floor, pulled his wrinkled t-shirt up exposing his whole belly and chest, and then spread his arms over his head, as if to say, “...here, tickle me, do whatever you want, but don't ‘get’ Nana!”
Wyatt's little mind was doing the only thing he knew to do to get Pops to not tickle-torture Nana. He was giving, sacrificing his all to “protect” and save Nana. Our Lord sacrificed His all, to help you and me and all mankind.
He didn't think about His comfort, His reputation, His consequences, He just, at great cost, gave Himself so that we would not have to suffer our own earned consequences of eternal separation from God. Even a five-year-old who has experienced the love of a dedicated Nana, knows how to give of himself to show love and gratitude back to the people who love him so much.
ITMI wants to work with nationals that understand this demonstration of love for our Father and who sacrificially show their gratitude by being His hands and feet in their countries, no matter what the cost.
You and I working together, empower and resource those faithful servants to demonstrate the wonderful love of Jesus and tell of His willingness to take the penalty of those who put their faith in Him.
This Thanksgiving month, can you consider how you can say “Thank you Lord” by helping us spread God's love and truth further into these forgotten people groups and lost souls? Thank you for loving God and loving us.
Know that we love you, too.
In His Service,
“Their visit was a great encouragement...”
- David Kumar, India
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About the Author
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
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