I was thinking about this today. Why do I love my grandchildren more than I like other people's grandchildren? It isn't because I am closer in proximity, they live half way around the world and I am nearer to other people's grandchildren. Not because I spend more time with them, for the same reason. I don't love them more because they look like me, they do have some characteristics consistent with our family. I am not sure I love them more because they have wonderful dispositions and winning personalities; even though they do. I have experienced the darker side of my grandchildren being around them for a couple of days.
Interesting enough I find myself briefly engaged with other people's children but I don't have an internal urge to pick them up and cuddle them or kiss them on the cheek. I am also more apt to send them back to their parents quicker if they are ornery, fussy, or somewhat smelly. Infants are fascinating to me but I am not one to hold them; they seem too fragile, but I am more inclined to hold my infant grandson and marvel at him while he sleeps on my chest.
All this brings me back to the same question -- why? I believe it is because they are 'of' me. I can't prove this but there seems to be a sense that because these children are part of me that I am inextricably drawn to them. There is an unspoken bond, a tether if you will, that extends beyond rational explanation. Now, I know that adopted grandchildren hold a special place in the hearts of grandparents. My brother and sister in law have adopted grandchildren. Their bond is no less meaningful but it is a matter of choice as they have welcomed these children into their family. I think, however, there is an instinctual difference.
In Christ we are both. We are adopted and we are a part of Him. We are created in His image and we have been chosen and placed in his family. We are His body and His members. He loves us not because He has to but because we are His. We love Him not because we are compelled but because we are inexplicably drawn to our heavenly Father. These are mysteries and defy explanation. Reducing them to chemical reactions in our brain and genetically combined histories doesn't in any way eliminate the mystery. In fact I think that it causes me to marvel even more at such a creative and awesome Father.
When Rebecca and I board the plane to return home we will be leaving a small piece (two small pieces) of us in Bahrain. We will long for the next time we will be able to hold them and play with them. We will plan, buy toys, and ready our home for their visit. Most of all we will pray that God will keep them safe, healthy, and secure as their parents teach them to love Him with all their hearts. And as much as I will enjoy the children of the church I know that there is a grandfather's love reserved for only a few. I'm just say......