Tuesday, January 23, 2007
A short while back my wife, daughter and I found ourselves at my mentor, Bill's house for an evening of encouragement and well...food. Ahhh, the great North American tradition of communing together around a table full of great tasting food. Bill's wife had prepared a masterful meal considering the obstacles; they had six children and we had brought our little crumb cruncher as well. So, if you are doing the math, that is eight people from the home team and three from the visitors. Now, the stage is set.
Conversation was thick with questions, curiosity and just general, get to know you stuff as this was the first time our families had done life together. At one point in the evening I discovered Libby, Bill's hardly quiet and undeniably cute eight year old, coaxing me into a dime tour of the house. When we arrived in the office in which Bill does his work there were some artifacts laying out. The first was a laptop... in Libby's words, "...that small one is Mommy's." Next to the laptop was a slightly larger and newer version of itself, according to Libby, "...this big one, its dad's and we don't touch it." Glancing at anything else that would grab the attention and maybe an interesting comment from an eight year old, a planner caught my eye. I said, "what's this Libby?" She promptly replied, "that is daddy's planner, it tells him what to do." Then, the revelation came.
I looked over her shoulder as she teetered on a reclining office chair - there was a tattered Bible, laying open. Through a quick smile I was able to grab her attention and casually threw out the question, "so, what's that?" I fully expected a brief glance followed by a retort something like this, "...oh, that's a Bible silly." However, Libby, an unexpected theologian and challenger of my faith said these words: "...oh, that is daddy's Bible, he reads it every morning with a hot cup of coffee..." leaning in slightly and with a kind of smirk I'd not yet noticed, Libby finished her statement, "...he really really needs it."
How do kids do it? How do they take truths we have tried to put into books, detailed sermons and neatly theologized statements and reduce them to something so understandable? The fact is Libby hit on one of the most important details of the Christian life: we really really need the Word of God daily. Hebrews 4:12 states, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
How are we to ever grow if we do not understand the "attitudes" of our heart? I have seen the light of really really needing to be in God's word daily. Libby, if you're out there, thanks...a thousand thanks to you for paying attention to the heritage your father is leaving daily because not only does he really really need it, but I do to.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
She found me out. I have tried for years to keep it hidden, but my wife has discovered the crux of my sin issue...I am insanely selfish. The other day I acted in a way that really solidified this for me - I am selfish. I laid awake last night for hours wondering why it is that God allows such crud in our lives.
You know, "if God is so loving, then why is there war, or famine, or strife in relationships?" You name it, someone has most likely struggled with it. In my case it is this whole idea of pride or selfishness. The barrier to a better relationship with my wife is to consider Phillippians chapter two.
Christ, the King of All, humbled Himself and became obedient to even death on a cross (the most humiliating and noticeable death at the time) all for the sake of God. Well, the same should be true of me, to become so obedient to Christ that I see how my actions might promote Christlikeness in my wife. Sadly, I failed the other day, as I have many times. God's grace is limitless and my wife is incredibly forbearing - THANK YOU LORD!! So, with the grace of God and the excitement of a better relationship with my wife firmly in my line of sight...I will pick up again today and try it all over.
Saturday, January 6, 2007
To be sure there are many things my daughter has taught me over her short life of nearly two years. However, the most recent one continues to plague my spiritual mind, in a good way.
She had just risen from a nap when I went to her room to get her. As I picked her up out of the crib- she rested her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arms around my neck. Slightly moved and wanting to drink in the moment, I cradled her close. She kept pointing toward the light switch on the wall. I carried her over to it and she promptly shut it off. Then she asked, "down peeease" (translation: down please). I put her down, she closed the door, picked up her blanket, grabbed my hand and had us lie down on the floor. Anyone who knows my daughter knows that what happened next is a MONUMENTAL task for her: she laid down next to me (for about 10 minutes)- her face literally inches from mine. With one thumb in her mouth and the free hand rubbing the side of my face she kept chanting this phrase, "...daddy pretty, daddy pretty."
Sure, as a dad it is easy to just slow things down for a moment like that with your daughter - for they are few. The reason I continue to catch myself smiling is simply the lesson she taught me in 10 minutes which I have spent my life to this point trying to explain: Jesus just wants us to rest.
I get so burdened with all that needs doing. I am weary and heavy of heart. For that moment, however, Jada (my daughter) just wanted to rest in my arms. She wanted to know that nothing else could crowd her out of her daddy's embrace. How I long for that with my Savior...
Would that all could experience a moment of Jada crawling up into their arms to demonstrate their need for the same with Christ Jesus.