I was reading an article today about a movie that promotes belief in Jesus. More specifically, I was reading the comments by professional film critics who seemed like they weren’t recapping the movie so much as they were making a strong stand against Christianity.
Let me start by saying something surprising. I hear them. I understand what they are saying. And sadly, there will probably be days when you boys ask the same questions and angrily ask questions of a God that doesn’t give us Google type answer results. (In case Google isn’t around anymore, Google is a big internet search engine that works like a fast encyclopedia…kind of).
There is something interesting about these questions – and in some cases, outright statements of moral indignation – that come from these educated people. I find that when I read these things, they are asking these questions about God to the general public, but not to God himself. Because that would mean that they would have to talk to God. Talking to God is a lot different than talking about God. I encourage you boys to do it every day – talk to God. Why? Because He really is listening. Because He really wants to talk to you. I once read a passage of scripture in the Bible about what God really wants from us and when I read it a few times, I was struck with how very intimate and close God wants to be with each of us on a very individual basis.
Jesus described it. “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
God really does want to hear from you. Privately. Not as you listen silently during a group prayer. He wants to hear from you. And wanting that begs the question. If He knows what you need before you ask Him…why do you have to go through the exercise of asking? Doesn’t that seem inefficient? Well…because He wants to be close to you. He wants to you to talk to him.
So if you have questions…no matter how seemingly stupid or irreverent they are…ask them. I’m not going to tell you that you will then magically open the Bible and find the passage with the answer right then and there. The point is, in the act of asking, you will change your perspective of the question because you will be listening for an answer from the point of view of God Almighty. The Alpha and Omega. The Maker of Heaven and Earth. Counselor. Everlasting Father.
So yes. When you reach these moments, you need to follow these instructions. Go off by yourself. And talk…out loud…to God. I encourage you to do it out loud. I find that my inner silly monologue doesn’t side track me as much if I actually talk out loud to him…even if it’s a whisper.
One thing I learned in having you boys is this. I am a lot more like a child than I thought I was. You boys made me consider how I must look to God. I began to see a different perspective about human nature, and realize I had to stand in the role of a parent, guide, mentor, and unfortunately, disciplinarian (my least favorite aspect of parenting). I would rather change dirty diapers all day than discipline you. But then, if I don’t…you will not become the great men you were created and called to be. You boys will never know how much your Dad and I have cried over having to be hard on you boys to train you up in proper behavior and loving discipline. It hurts. A lot. And it sucks!! And I hate it!!! But I have to do it to help you along. It would be a lot easier to just try to be your buddy. But that’s not the job. So how does that relate to God?
You’ll see. I wish I could explain it but it sounds trivial if you aren’t in the circumstances yourselves. I encourage you to NOT to wait until your 30’s or even your late 20’s to have kids. I think having kids brings us closer to God because we are constantly shown how much we have to do to care for you, nurture you, and love you. It’s like you catch a glimpse of the work God must be putting in around the clock to keep us going from one minute to the next.
It’s especially telling right now. You see, you are all really working hard to learn language (Graham, you are only 4!). And I can’t always explain why you must do something, or why you can’t do something, why you have to wait for something, or why you must be quiet, or why you have to sit still, or buckle up, or take your medicine, or stay away from the ant bed, or not jump off of the furniture, or climb the gate at the top of the stairs, or why you must use the potty and wash your hands afterwards, or why you can’t go outside without me, or run away from me at the grocery store, or play rough with other kids, or use your words, or why you must obey. But reading this now, you know the answers to all of those things, even if you were once too small to know them. And as I sit here, I have to make sure you follow these rules which sometimes involves discipline. It would be so easy if you simply asked why and I told you and you understood. But you are not there yet. So we sit. And I try to explain it. And even if you don’t yet understand the answer, I will always try to help you along and make sure you know how much you are loved until the day comes where you ask the question and understand the answer. It’s hard.
Imagine how hard this is for God? The only way He can remind you how much you are loved is when you talk to Him. Because it’s the only time you are listening. Don’t wait until you have a very in depth or difficult question to start talking to Him. Get into the habit of talking to Him early on, and you will have many of these difficult questions answered before you face the real life challenges. You will have the foundation in place to understand some answers so that you can begin to understand the more difficult ones. Maybe that sounds like I’m talking in circles. I hope you understand anyways.
Just remember. When you are scared. When you are hurt. When you feel alone. When you need a miracle. He’s seen this coming for a long time, and put plans into motion before you were born to help you through them, whenever they occur in your lifetime. You can know that help is just around the corner and He is with you every step. He promises that. He just needs you to talk to Him so that he has the chance to remind you of it…to remind you of how much you are loved, and that the miracle is on the way even if it doesn’t look like what you are wanting, or expecting. He’s ready to give you the answers, even though you aren’t always able to understand them or perhaps not even willing to accept them. He knows your future because He’s already there, in your future, knowing the outcomes of your challenges. He’s there, in your past, preparing the path for the miracles you are going to need as you face each struggle. He’s here, in your present time, patiently waiting for you to talk to Him, call out to Him, and believe in Him. He promises He will never leave you, or forsake you. That promise is to you, and me, and your dad. One day we won’t be here with you to help you, but know that we are not alone or gone in any way. We are just on the next leg of the long journey. One that’s pretty exciting, and a little scary, and utterly beautiful. And if a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day…well…we’ll be seeing you and all your descendants in about a minute!.