Where we were doesn’t really matter. Neither does why we were there. Nor does it matter who we were with or how we got there. What matters is that for about one half second the universe evaporated. Just before that moment, my daughter was sitting quietly in my lap, looking around the room while I was focused on something else. She seemed to cuddle and fidget simultaneously. I have no idea what goes through a three year old's mind at a moment like that but she was exploring my face and hair and arms with the lightest of touches. Then her hand and my gaze crossed paths. As I glanced downward, I saw her hand slowly move into mine. Her palm rested in mine. And the universe evaporated. I noticed that her hand was only about one third the size of mine. It was several skin tones different than mine. Her hand seemed infinitely more smooth than mine and infinitely more fragile. It seemed to float there forever as though the tips of her tiny fingers were attempting to memorize every line, every wrinkle, every crevice. In that same half second I relived her birth and wondered how she could ever have been small enough to fit within her mother's womb. I felt her hair brush against my face and smelled her breath. I could almost hear her fighting with her brothers and the sound of her shrill voice when I return home from work everyday…and the universe evaporated. And when reality recondensed, I was different. Not because of some new emotional attachment to my daughter or some “special moment” that she won’t remember tomorrow. I was different because I think I experienced God in an unbelievably fresh way.
God said through the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5) As much as I think I know my daughter, God knows her more. And he knows me just as intimately and completely as he knows anyone. And what really struck me is that despite all that he knows about me, he still wants the best for me. He said, “’I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) I have hope and a future because God knows me. Think about that and watch the universe evaporate.