I've never had a son - never missed having one. We have three girls (women now), and have never wanted any different - but there was a moment, a specific moment I will always remember, when I knew having a son-in-law was a good idea. We had gone to Jessica's graduation from Harding University, and the closest we could get rooms for all 10 of us was Beebe, Arkansas - though we had been trying to book rooms since Christmas. The ten of us were: Teresa, Jessica, Julia, Jill, Deb, my mom Sandy, Teresa's mom Arlene, Cindy Kline, and me. If you do the math you'll see that that is eight women and me. I am used to being the one designated to reach the high shelf, lift heavy objects, and kill spiders - but I am accustomed to serving four women (and two female cats). Eight was just at the limit of my abilities. Eight on a road trip was beyond them. Then a work crew took up residence at our hotel, looking to chat up any female under 90 - so any time one of the ladies had to go to the car they had to be escorted because Lil'Abner, Larry, Daryl, and Daryl were all waiting with a long-necked beer, and a hankerin' to conversate.
The tenth in our group was my son-in-law Heath. He wasn't my son-in-law yet, or even my son-in-law to be - not for a few hours anyway, he was there to propose - but when he arrived, halving (theoretically) my responsibilities I was as relieved as the settlers used to be when John Wayne rode up. "Having a son-in-law" I thought "is going to be a really good thing." And it has been.
I've never had a son, but I've been one. I had a great dad, the best grandpa ever (don't even think about disputing that), the best father-in law ever (ditto - just ask Bink), the best grandfather in-law, and at least a baker's dozen father figures, many of whom have been my elders. It was never a stretch for me to think of God as my Father, to not want to disappoint Him, to have confidence in His grace. It's good to be a son. The Bible says so (I John 3.1-3, or any other page of the New Testament).
This fact hit me hard the other day while discussing Angels with a friend. A few years back I read an article asking how Christians would react to sentient life forms that were not human. Aliens, the writer contended, would destroy the theological framework of Christianity. I strongly disagree - no I object. We are exposed daily to sentient life-forms that are not humans - Angels. Angels have bodies and intellects clearly superior to our own, and yet their task is to serve us (Hebrews 1). What the writer of Hebrews also makes clear is that Angels do not have access to grace (Hebrews 2.1-9). Only we do.
Angels can sin (II Peter 2.4), but they do not have access to grace. I have to confess that that disturbs me. I feel bad about Angels - especially since I will never know (here at least) how often they have protected me and my loved ones. There have been times that I have wondered how a loving God could create a race of beings who can sin, but who have no access to grace. But I always remember that the information we have is extremely limited, and so our best speculations are mostly made up of filler and ignorance.
What this knowledge of Angels should remind us is that it is good to be a son - or a daughter. We are the very children of God through the blood of Christ, born of water and spirit (John 3.1-7). Why us? Because we are given God's love (John 3.16). This leads to a second question: "Why us?" I don't have an answer for this one. But I do know…
It's good to be a son.