I learned as a child in the Florida school system that Juan Ponce de Leon was the first Spanish explorer to land here. No records are available but he was believed to have been born in July, 1474, and traveled with Columbus as a very young man before ultimately setting off on his own.
He had heard stories about a magical spring that could cure diseases and make you young again, so he began the search, finally sighting land on March 27, 1513. A few days later he landed; no one is sure the exact date except that it was “late March.” The land he set foot on somewhere near St. Augustine was so beautiful he called it Florida. Spring in Florida is beautiful. I understand why he was impressed. If he had landed in July, we would have had a much different name. (What’s the Spanish word for “oven?”)
We do have a lot of natural springs in Florida—probably half a dozen within 30 miles of where I sit—but none with the magical powers he looked for. I can find a Fountain of Youth quite easily, though. I have it laid out right next to me as I type. The eternal life promised to the faithful may be the most obvious application of that concept, but I can think of yet another.
As I watch my grandsons play I find myself remembering my own childhood, realizing as an adult how unfettered it was by worry, pain, and sorrow. I never for a moment wondered where my next meal was coming from. I never worried about storms, not even hurricanes. I never worried about bad people doing bad things to me. I had a Daddy I trusted implicitly. He would take care of me. That’s what Daddies do.
Once when I was still in early grade school, I had a bad dream. My Daddy came in and sat on the bed next to me, asking me about the dream and then carefully undoing every worry it had evoked in me. When he finished I could go back to sleep because of his reassurances. That’s what Daddies do.
One morning in first grade I was upset about something—I don’t even remember what now. But my Daddy noticed that I had tears in my eyes when I got out of the car. As I stood in front of my classroom, waiting for the bell to ring, I looked up and there he was, striding down the sidewalk. He had parked the car and come looking for me to make sure I was all right. That’s what Daddies do.
Daddies provide. They protect. They comfort. Do you want a Fountain of Youth? Stop worrying about things you cannot fix. Stop being afraid of things you cannot handle alone. Stop wondering how you will manage. Cast your cares on a Father who loves you. Once again become a little child who has a Daddy who will always be there, always watching out for your needs and taking care of your problems. If you don’t have that, it’s only because you insist on ignoring His outstretched hand. You insist on trying to control everything yourself—as if you were the Daddy.
Do you begin your prayers, “Father in Heaven?” Then act like He is your Father. Trust Him. Begin this day with a new exuberance, one born because you have surrendered your cares to Him and finally found the Fountain of Youth.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Romans 8:14-16.