I’ll Send My Boots and Hat Over

by | May 31, 1999 | Relationship, Salvation

One of my favorite childhood memories is greeting my father as he came home from work.

My mother, who worked an evening shift at the hospital, would leave the house around three in the afternoon. Dad would arrive home at three-thirty. My brother and I were left alone for that half-hour with strict instructions not to leave the house until Dad arrived.

We would take our positions on the couch and watch cartoons, always keeping one ear alert to the driveway. Even the best “Daffy Duck” would be abandoned when we heard his car.

I can remember running out to meet Dad and getting swept up in his big (often sweaty) arms. As he carried me toward the house, he’d put his big-brimmed straw hat on my head, and for a moment I’d be a cowboy. We’d sit on the porch as he removed his oily work boots (never allowed in the house). As he took them off I’d pull them on, and for a moment I’d be a wrangler. Then we’d go indoors and open his lunch pail. Any leftover snacks, which he always seemed to have, were for my brother and me to split.

It was great. Boots, hats, and snacks. What more could a five-year-old want?

But suppose, for a minute, that is all I got. Suppose my dad, rather than coming home, just sent some things home. Boots for me to play in. A hat for me to wear. Snacks for me to eat.

Would that be enough? Maybe so, but not for long. Soon the gifts would lose their charm. Soon, if not immediately, I’d ask, “Where’s Dad?”

Or consider something worse. Suppose he called me up and said, “Max, I won’t be coming home anymore. But I’ll send my boots and hat over, and every afternoon you can play in them.”

No deal. That wouldn’t work. Even a five-year-old knows it’s the person, not the presents, that makes a re­union special. It’s not the frills; it’s the father.

Imagine God making us a similar offer:

I will give you anything you desire. Anything. Perfect love. Eternal peace. You will never be afraid or alone. No confusion will enter your mind. No anxiety or boredom will enter your heart. You will never lack for anything.

There will be no sin. No guilt. No rules. No expectations. No failure. You will never be lonely. You will never hurt. You will never die.

Only you will never see my face.

Would you want it? Neither would I. It’s not enough. Who wants heaven without God? Heaven is not heaven without God.

A painless, deathless eternity will be nice, but inadequate. A world shot with splendor would stagger us, but it’s not what we seek. What we want is God. We want God more than we know. It’s not that the perks aren’t attractive. It’s just that they aren’t enough. It’s not that we are greedy. It’s just that we are his and-Augustine was right-our hearts are restless until they rest in him.

When God Whispers Your Name

copyright [Word Publishing, 1994] Max Lucado, p. 177-179.

Used by permission


I’ll Send My Boots and Hat Over