Unequal Love, but That’s the Way It’s Supposed to Be

Saturday morning. It is 6:30. I sit here in the football stadium under an overcast sky wondering if three is too many to hope for. Will this, the third high school graduation I’ve saved these exact same seats for, be the one we get drenched? If not there’s one more opportunity in two years when our fourth walks this same path.

 

I am alone in the stands. Well, not quite alone.  There are many other parents beginning to show up and even some already here before me, saving seats for their clans.  But I am the lone clan member sitting here this morning saving a dozen spaces for extended family.  I sit here and watch the activity before me and think about what we are celebrating and who we are celebrating.

 

Of course we celebrate you, the graduates. You have worked hard (many of you) and accomplished much (some of you). But whether you’ve worked hard for this day or squandered opportunities up until this day or struggled with friendships and workloads and other issues, here you all will be soon. But more importantly, here are gathering their family members to celebrate this day. The unconditional love that is driving all the bustle in the stands is palpable. It’s even forgivable that this love causes us to forget for a moment that everyone in the stands, saving the seats, jockeying for the best picture spot, all of us are here celebrating our child. We are all excited. We are brothers and sisters in this journey with more in common than we realize.  We want this moment to last. I understand you. I feel you. Here. Use my towel. You don’t want to sit on that oxidized bench without wiping it down. We’re in this together.

 

Yes, of course, we celebrate you, our children and your accomplishments. But that cannot be all that we celebrate. I cannot sit here and watch the bustle on the field and on the track and in the stands and ignore how many it took to make this day possible.

 

I see your fellow classmates. They are putting out programs and sunglasses on every chair. They are dressed in their best and eager to serve you, their friends. They have all worked and played and laughed and even cried together and with you and at you. They do this for you and dream a little about a day one or two years in their future when others will be setting out their programs and sun glasses.  This day would not be possible without the friends that helped you through these four years.

 

I also see a dozen men and women in the stands. They don’t have a child here. They have gloves on and towels that look like they once were white but are now a mottled gray and black. These dozen faithful are here simply to wipe down the stands before the parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles come and sit down. They do this work quietly and faithfully. They are not looking for recognition. They appear embarrassed if you thank them. This does not stop my wife from seeking one out and giving her a big hug and thanking her over and over again. This is not the first thing these faithful servants have done so quietly in these four years to make this day possible for you. They have cleaned up after you. They have prepared rooms and facilities and picked up enough paper off the ground to republish whole sets of encyclopedias. Their work is as essential as it is overlooked. But you would not have this day to celebrate without them.

 

And definitely I see the teachers and administrators.  They are preparing the stage and their speeches. These have sacrificed much for you. They have given up evenings to grading and prepping. They have sacrificed far better pay, even just a county away, in order to instruct and serve and love you. Many are the very inspiration you and other young men and women have needed to see a brighter future for yourselves.

 

I watch all of this and know that somewhere inside the building behind me are 500 plus soon-to-be graduates. You are not thinking of your fellow classmates who set up your chairs. You are not thinking of the staff who have cleaned up ahead of and after you for four years. You are not thinking of your inspiring and patient teachers and administrators who have watched and forgiven much in these four years. You are not even thinking of us your parents. Our work. Our tears. Our fears. Our twelve years of wondering how on earth we will ever get you to this day. No. You are, admittedly, thinking of yourselves. Your accomplishments. Your parties that will follow. Your futures.

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And we gladly give you this day. We know that this momentary amnesia toward us and others is not who you will be in a few years.  Maybe not even in a few hours. But even if it takes until you are sitting in these stands and you are saving your own seats and watching the commotion unfold before you. In that moment you will be free from that nasty beast of self-centeredness. We can forgive you and give you this day. We know (well, we ought to know by now) this is not an equally reciprocating love. We know that we will pour far more into you than we will ever receive back. It must be this way. It can only be this way. There is no way for you to return the sacrificial love we have for you. And we would be embarrassed if you tried to. We are delighted to celebrate you today. On this day, we are as impressed with you as you are. On this day, we come a little closer to knowing the perfect love of a Father who loves us not because we will ever reciprocate that love anywhere near the level of sacrifice he has given for us, but simply because he chose to love us. He is driven entirely and purely by his love for us.  And we are driven entirely (though not always so purely) by our love for you.

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But now my thoughts are interrupted. Because you have walked in. Yes, you, plural, you 500+ seniors who will graduate in less than two hours.  But more specifically.  You.  Singular.  You have walked in.  You in your dress and your gown and your cap.  You, who feel so grown up.  I know.  I remember.  And you, who feel so scared.  I know.  I remember.  And I see you.  You and 500 of your closest friends walking to your seats. But they mean very little to me in this moment. You are all I see. But I can barely see you. My eyes are blurry. My throat feels funny. I am here and yet not here.  I am in a thousand moments spread over 18 years and crammed into one instant. I’d say I cannot imagine loving another this way. But that’s not true. I love three others this exact way. I would live and die and give and cry for them and for you. And not because of who they or you might become if I love you all well enough. But just because. I love them and you because you are mine. I love you, because I love you.  There is no higher reason.  There is nothing I am after.  I love you. Period. End of story.  And realize I am loved. Period. End of story.

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Some Practical Helps for Willing God’s Will and Wanting God’s Glory

Toward the end of May, we were looking at John 7:1-24.  You can listen to that sermon here if you are so inclined.  In verses 17 and 18 Jesus says,

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

A marker of true belief is that we will want God’s will and we will seek God’s glory more than our own.

But that leaves us with the question, even if I want to want God’s will and wished that I desired God’s glory more in my life, how do I do that?  How do I cultivate a taste for God’s Glory?  Let’s be honest.  After all, we don’t always want God’s Glory and His will is too often the furthest thing from our desires.

What are some practical steps to changing my tastes so that God’s will becomes more and more my will and God’s glory becomes more and more my chief and driving desire that sets all other desires in their proper place?

Maybe an illustration would help us.

When my son came home from school this Spring he announced to us that he wanted to learn to play the piano.  At first I thought, “Sure.  Don’t we all?”  But when his older sister also came home from school he told her the same thing.  He asked her if she would spend time with him teaching him the basics of piano.  Now, full disclosure time.  My oldest son and daughter are like any other brother and sister.  They do not always see eye to eye on things.  And when his sister points out things that he ought to be doing my son’s response is not always the most mature.  But she agreed, and they have been spending time downstairs at the piano side by side many nights.  She has been showing him some basics from old piano books she has, and he has also been spending about a half hour every day at the piano on his own.

My son wanted to develop a taste for the glory of the piano.  He sought out someone who already had that taste and asked for help.  He also began spending his own free time seeking to develop that taste on his own.

If you wanted to develop a taste for fishing you would spend time—well, fishing.  You would read articles and books on fishing techniques and you would find a group of people who either already had a taste for fishing or who, like you, wanted to develop a taste and appreciation for fishing.

Why is it that when it comes to our desire to grow more and more delighted in God’s will and God’s glory we expect that desire to miraculously (magically?) grow in us?  How do you develop a taste for God’s glory?  You spend time with others who also want that same taste cultivated in themselves.  You spend time with others who already have a taste and delight in God’s will and God’s glory.  You spend time reading God’s word and reading articles and books by others who have shown that they delight in God’s will and God’s glory.

There are so many opportunities at Hope of Christ for just such cultivation.  Our vision at Hope of Christ is to help one another know Jesus Christ, grow in grace, and go into the world with the hope of Christ.  Sunday morning worship is the first of those opportunities.  It is the one day of the week God invites us to set everything else aside and just rest in his glory and grace.  Are you making Sunday worship a priority in your life?  Care groups and Bible studies are another place where you can begin to cultivate your taste for God’s will and God’s glory.  Even our new classes, Theology Thursdays, are an excellent place to begin developing your tastes for God’s will and God’s glory.  After all, it is hard to truly know a person’s desires when we don’t really know much about that person.  Theology Thursdays are a great place to be reminded of who God is and why it is essential to our well-being to desire his glory and his will.

If you want to start wanting God’s will, if you want to begin to be delighted in what brings God glory, you must seek out places and people where that is being cultivated regularly.  Make Sunday morning worship a priority in your week.  Make Bible studies and care groups a priority in your week.  Spend time on your own in prayer and in God’s word.  And watch as the Holy Spirit begins to change your desires and correct your tastes.  Soon you will find the glory of God your goal and the desires of God your desires.

I love you all.  Enjoy the Journey!

via Left Unsaid… for better or worse ‹ Log In

A Reflection after Nine Years of Pastoring this Awesome Congregation

A Reflection Nine Years in the Making

 

Last month Hope of Christ Church celebrated our ninth year in worshiping our Savior and serving each other and our community.  This means we are now in our tenth year of worshiping together as one Body of Christ.  It is exciting to begin thinking about how we will celebrate ten years next March.

 

I saw on Facebook, shortly after our anniversary came and went, a “memory” posted by a friend of and supporter of Hope of Christ. I usually enjoy seeing those Facebook memories either from my own account or from others.  It is fun to recall the past or see the things that struck us funny or worth posting about all those years ago.  This particular memory was a picture of the majority of the Hope of Christ congregation at our one year celebration.  As I looked at this picture, however, I must confess that I was not filled with sweet nostalgia.  My first look at the picture filled me with sadness. But the more I looked at and thought about the picture the more I was filled with hope and a new sense of faith in Christ and his promises.

 

Why sadness?

As I looked at the picture I could not help but see a lot of pain and suffering and loss and struggling.  I see a family that will be forced to do the unthinkable in one month and say goodbye to their daughter not even four months old.  I see a man who will bury his mother without any assurance of her salvation.  I see two families who will watch their daddy walk away from them, from their mommy, and from God himself as each of those men pursues lust and selfishness to the extreme.  I see families who will leave Hope of Christ with tears as God moves them to new places for their journey to continue.  But I also see families who will leave, not because God is moving them away, but because tastes and wants will move them to walk away from friends and vows.  I see a man who, in three years, will accuse me of stealing from the church and another man who, in one year, will tell me I have no business being a pastor.  Other than my own family, there are only two families in the picture still worshiping and serving at Hope of Christ. Interestingly, neither of those families were part of the launch team, which means my own family is the last family still in the church who helped start the church.  People who study these kinds of numbers tell church planters to plan on losing the entire launch team within the first five years. We made it almost nine years.

 

Why Hope?

Seeing all of that in a single Facebook memory, how can I possibly see hope in that picture?  I see hope because I see in this picture of pain and suffering and loss and disappointment a picture of God’s faithfulness to his children. I see the family who had to say goodbye to their daughter surrounded by dear friends who have become family who will weep with them and bear that unbearable burden with them. And I see that same family who knows real loss and can help others with the losses they are sure to face in this fallen world. I see families to whom God is remaining faithful even if the husbands/fathers are not. Though men (and women) disappoint and abandon, our Savior never will. Though there be husbands who will sacrifice others for their own wants, we have a Savior who died to self and sacrificed himself to secure our marriage to Him. Though I see a picture mostly of people who are not at Hope of Christ anymore, God has remained faithful and there are so many, many families who, though they were not around for the one year celebration, are with us today and committed to the work to which God has called us.  I also see in that picture many young people who have grown up at Hope of Christ and have now declared their own faith in Christ and are serving faithfully in the church and growing in their understanding and application of God’s amazing grace.

 

So much of the New Testament is written to help us remember the words of our Savior, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.”

 

The church has always been made up entirely of sinners and sufferers.  Not two categories of different kinds of people, but rather two titles that we all share.  All of us are sinners.  All of us are sufferers.  We have a Savior who suffered for us, suffers with us, and bore our sin in his own body on the tree so that we could be healed by his suffering.  In these last nine years, I have been asked often, “What exactly is the hope of Christ?” Our hope is not that we will never suffer again or be sinned against, but that we have a Savior who is himself our Hope and Comfort.  He is our Rock and an ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way or the mountains be thrown into the heart of the sea.  No matter how much chaos or turmoil we are called to face in our own lives or in the fellowship of the saints, we will not fear because God is with us.  And he who began the good work in each of us will remain faithful and will complete that work he has begun.  This is good news indeed!

 

So, Happy Anniversary, Hope of Christ.  I am delighted to be with you and am eager (though admittedly a little anxious) to see what God will do in and through us in the next ten years.

 

Enjoy the journey!

Rejoice in the Lord, Only?

Last month, as we continue to worship our way through the Gospel According to John at Hope of Christ Church, we found ourselves in John 2.13-25 and the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple.  You may listen to that sermon here if you are interested.  In that passage, we were shown that the Old Testament prophesied that Jesus would delight in and be consumed with the worship of God:

“His disciples remembered that is was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” – John 2.17

In an attempt to emphasize the attitude of Christ toward worship, I fear I overstated and went beyond even God’s thoughts on how you ought to view the rest of your life and the gifts of God in your life.

While it is true that we ought to be consumed by God’s love for us, especially as displayed in Christ and on the cross, this does not mean that we cannot or even ought not find joy and delight in other smaller, even temporary gifts from God.

My mother once told me about a woman in the church where I grew up.  Her attitude toward ministry was that it wasn’t serving Christ if you enjoyed it.  You were really only serving and ministering if it was something you didn’t like.  She was my 3-4-year-old Sunday School teacher.  This revelation explained a lot.

Maybe none of us would go this far, but I wonder if this is not our assumption about most of the rest of life – if you are enjoying it, it is probably an idol.  But is this true?  Is this the attitude God wants us to have toward our work, our possessions, our endeavors?  I think not.

God has given to each of us certain abilities, passions, possessions, and opportunities.  If these are all gifts from God, he has not given them so that we despise or ignore them, but that we might enjoy the gifts and even share them with other people.

James 1.17 states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  This reminder comes right after James has warned believers of the temptations and trials that come our way.  He points out that these temptations don’t come from God but form our own lusts and desires.  The good and perfect gifts are from God.  Our wrong uses and attitudes toward those gifts are from our own lusts and desires.  The answer is not to deny the goodness of the gifts nor to avoid those gifts, but to take those gifts captive for the glory of God.

Psalm 104 is a great celebration of all of creation.  The psalmist celebrates everything from the Sun and moon, the mountains and seas, the forests and pasturelands, the wild beasts and domestic animals, labor and toil and rest, and even oil and wine and bread.  Certainly, none of the pieces of creation are delighted in as an end in themselves, but always as a means to delighting in God.  But the delight is there all the same.

It is good for us, and even an act of worship, when we enjoy the gifts God has given.  You worship God when you enjoy your work and your abilities.  You worship God when you are passionate about aspects of creation and delight to share that passion with others.

Certainly, we each need to know our own hearts, and seek to keep our desires in a healthy God-honoring place and confess our lusts as the Holy Spirit exposes them.  But when we enjoy our work or our hobbies or passions or any other aspect of creation we are enjoying things the way God first intended creation to be before sin affected it and the way things will one day be again when the old is passed away and the new comes.  God is delighted when we find delight in his gifts as any earthly parent is delighted when the gift they give their child is enjoyed and appreciated.

C. S. Lewis describes the difference between looking at a sunbeam and looking along a sunbeam and at the sun. The sunbeam has a beauty and glory in itself, but that beauty and glory are not from itself. The glory of a sunbeam comes from the sun.  the beam cannot exist without the sun.  The sun can easily exist without the beam.  We need not deny the beauty of the beam in order to properly value the sun.

Enjoy the beams of your work, your passions, your abilities, your children, your relationships.  And let those beams of goodness draw your eyes upward to the Son.  Look along the gift to see the Giver.

2-4-6-8-who do we appreciate?

January is National mentoring month

April is Jazz appreciation month

May used to be National Guide Dog month until 2010 when they inexplicably moved it to September which, nobody saw coming.

And there are others.  This month, I learned, is Pastor’s Wife appreciation month.

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image borrowed from Crossway.org

I’m not sure if this is a rant or a constructive thought, but here it is.

A pastor’s wife needs to be appreciated, as does an accountant’s wife, a butcher’s wife, a dentist’s wife… you get the picture.  Every member of the local congregation needs to be appreciated and not taken for granted especially those who work behind the scenes and make the public folks look better than they really are (1 Corinthians 12:22-26).

Something about a month of “appreciating” the pastor’s wife communicates to me that it’s an area we aren’t very good at.  Sort of like a hospitality committee (you know, because we stink at just being hospitable so we need a committee to organize and announce how hospitable we are).

But beyond that, when is the last time, ladies, you wanted to be identified by what your husband does for a living?  I’ve not yet heard of someone introducing herself by telling what her husband does for a living and that explaining everything you need to know about her.  And while on that subject, I also haven’t asked a mechanic’s wife what she thought the smell was coming from my engine compartment or an engineer’s wife to design a flux capacitor for me.

(incidentally, this is not intended to be a sexist rant.  I am aware that there are female mechanics and engineers.  In that case I wouldn’t ask the husband of an engineer to design me a flux capacitor (unless of course the husband AND wife were engineers or maybe an engineer and a chemist (I’m looking at you Jack and Paige), then I’d have the baddest time traveling DeLorean in the neighborhood!)).

And yet, just as each of us has a unique calling and need for grace, so to the Pastor’s wife.  Not more grace, not some special seat (or parking space) but grace uniquely fit to each of person to match their gifts and needs in their desire to live out the gospel where God has put them.

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I know one woman who told her ridiculously good-looking boyfriend that the one thing she did not want to be was a pastor’s wife.  Ten years later they were heading into seminary and down that rabbit hole.

I know a pastor who was told by an elder in his church that his wife wasn’t qualified to teach… Sunday School… to three-year-olds!

I know another pastor’s wife who worked full-time the entire time her husband was a pastor and the church complained about how unavailable she was.

Shy pastor’s wives are criticized for not being more involved.  Outspoken pastor’s wives are accused of abusing their position.

Consider: a pastor’s wife does not get to leave the church when “things just aren’t going well,” or she just “isn’t feeling connected,” or there just isn’t enough for her kids.

Most pastor’s wives outlive their husbands, which adds injury to insult.  Let’s face it, most pastors’ idea of a retirement plan is, “preach till I die.”  And most churches can’t afford much more than a “be warm and well-fed” model themselves.

While other members of the church may know, theoretically, that their pastor is a sinner, the pastor’s wife experiences daily that her pastor is a sinner in as much need of the grace he is preaching as anyone.

Pastor’s wives are people—sinners saved by grace alone.  They have gifts, just like other members, but that does not mean necessarily gifts just like their husbands.  Some are gifted teachers and communicators.  Some are terrified of public speaking.  Some are gifted counselors.  Some are not.  Some have the gift of hospitality.  Some do not.  I haven’t met every pastor’s wife nor even most, but I can draw some conclusions from the ones I’ve met.  ALL of them need friends.

But what does that look like for the woman who happens to be married to the pastor?  Ladies in the church, do not assume that your pastor’s wife is cold or uninterested in friendship with you.  She is navigating what feels like treacherous waters.

Does she have confidants in the church where her husband, let’s face it, makes his living?  “I feel like my husband has time for everyone but me.”  That’s your pastor she’s talking about.  “Please pray for my marriage.”  That’s your pastor’s marriage she’s talking about.  “We haven’t had a raise in five years, and I my husband’s considering another change, but I don’t know if kids or I can take another move.”  That’s your pastor and your church she’s talking about.

This pastor’s wife (not “this pastor’s wife,” this pastor – me – his wife – my wife.  Confused yet?  Anyway)—this pastor’s wife, in the years after she became that which she swore she could never be, has come face to face with the many fears she had in expressing her resolve never to be one.  Some of those challenges have come from cruel people, but some have come from well-meaning friends and some have come from facing her own idols and need for Christ’s forgiveness and grace.

This pastor’s wife has also sat in his office with him and prayed through tears for the precious church God has called them to; she has spent hundreds and thousands of hours caring for and serving their church; she has poured herself out in prayer for the church and their sinner-of-a-pastor; she would give anything for the children and teens of the church and the community and can often be found at a middle school or high school volunteering or subbing.

So, yes, appreciate the wife of your pastor.  She is seeking to do that which God has called her to do – to love her husband, raise her children, love Christ’s bride and love the lost.  If it takes a special month to bring her to your mind then start this month.  Show her the grace and patience you desire and need from others.  Bear with her and love her like any other member of your awesome church.

Then, I don’t know, go crazy, appreciate her in June too.

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Hope for Hump Day, May 7

What is your only comfort in life and in death?

So begins the Heidelberg Catechism. The answer tells me that my only comfort is that I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

Is that true? I mean, do I live my life as if that is true? Do you live every day, every week, as though the one thing that makes life worth living and death worth facing is that you belong to Jesus Christ the Son of God and Savior of sinners?

Jesus says in John 11.25:

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he die, yet shall he live.

But do we really believe this? Actually that was Jesus’ follow up question (John 11.26). Do we believe that everything this world tells us will give us life and satisfaction actually overwhelms our lives and eventually amounts to nothing?

I was in a meeting recently with some other community leaders. We were discussing ways to serve our greater community with opportunities to come together and enjoy family and friends. We were discussing parades, arts festivals for children, historical celebrations for our community, and other similar events and venues. The discussion turned to the most effective day of the week to hold these activities. One man pointed out that Saturdays were hard because of baseball and softball and soccer and other children sports events. Someone else pointed out that Sundays would eliminate or at least greatly inhibit the involvement of local churches in promoting, supporting, and taking part in these community events. One of the attendees quipped, “People are more willing to skip church than their kid’s sporting events.” Everyone laughed.

And there it is.

What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That my children have been given all the opportunities that their friends have been given to shine like the superstars they are.

What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I make enough money to fill my two-car garage and my basement with more stuff than I my kids can use in a year.

What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I am my own. My kids are my own. And I am in control. No one is going to hurt my children or control my children or tell my children what to do except me. I am the captain of my own ship and of my children’s destination.

What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That My kids are smarter than yours, richer than yours, prettier than yours, better than yours.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” -Mark 8.34-36

Are we teaching our children this truth? Do we even believe it ourselves? Do we believe that the God who breathed his own breath into us, shed his own blood for us, poured his own Spirit into us has every right to our devotion and love?

What are we teaching our children about the value of worship? I fear that mostly we are teaching them that worshiping God is mostly a “if there’s nothing better to do” activity. If we don’t have a game or there isn’t a game on tv or we aren’t on vacation or we aren’t getting ready for vacation or we haven’t just returned from vacation or we haven’t had a hard week or we don’t need to mow the lawn or drywall the basement or go to brunch or just have some ‘me’ time THEN we will worship God because we love Jesus and want to show him.

Are we helping our children learn to deny themselves and take up their crosses and follow Jesus, or are we giving them a false god who would never change or even deny their dreams?

Are we teaching our children that there is nothing in their lives that gives them more comfort, more value, more hope than belonging to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or are we teaching our children that there is nothing in their lives that gives them more value, more comfort, more hope than their performance, their abilities, their sports activities, their recreation?

What would the impact be on our homes, our hearts, even our relationships in our communities if we began teaching and living out with our children that there is nothing more important in the week than gathering with God’s people to worship God and enjoy a rest together? What would have to change in our calendars, in our homes, in our hearts for that to become a reality?

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” -Augustine of Hippo, 354-430.

Enjoy the Journey

Daddy, Fix It

I used this illustration in a talk I gave last Sunday evening and was asked to share it here for others.

Jesus encourages us to receive the Kingdom of God like children (Luke 18.17).  What does that mean?  What does it look like?  How are we to approach our heavenly father like little children?

 

When my son turned three years old I bought him a radio controlled, “Crocodile Hunter” Jeep.  Admittedly, this gift entertained his father as much as it entertained him, but that is not the point.

Before wrapping his present I went ahead and charged the batteries so that it would be ready to go right out of the box.  That afternoon, we took the jeep out to the driveway and had a blast – a very short-lived blast.  I was not aware that as the battery in the car lost its charge, the ability to maintain control over the vehicle would also decrease.  I was maneuvering the jeep down the driveway (that had a downward slope to the street) when I no longer had control of the vehicle.  It was lined up perfectly to roll straight into the street — at the exact time that a full-sized vehicle was coming down the road.

I could not have timed it better if I wanted to.  The small Jeep rolled under the car perfectly lined up with the rear tire.  The driver never knew what that bump was and never stopped.  The Jeep was completely smashed.  We hadn’t even had the toy for two hours and it was toast.

I was devastated, but my young son seemed unaffected.  He walked straight out to the mangled wreck, scooped it up in his little arms, walked back up the driveway to me, looked up and said, “Daddy, fix it.”

My son was absolutely convinced that I could fix it.  Perhaps one of the saddest (yet most necessary) days in the relationship between a dad and his child is the day a your child realizes that you can’t do everything.

 

Many things in our lives feel broken, crushed, mangled because of foolishness on our part or drive-by negligence in the world.  You have a heavenly Father who loves you so deeply that he organized history itself to move toward one particular moment in time in which He sent His one and only Son to die for your sin, to “fix it.”

You can come to your Father and hold up the mess you have made and say simply, “Daddy, fix it.”  He immediately forgives and accepts you; He begins at once restoring and redeeming you, changing your heart to desire Him more and more, helping you to turn away form your own self-destructive desires.  He begins to give you eyes to see the pain of others so that you might be a source of hope and encouragement for them, keeping them from running headlong into the street.

As a chid of God you will never have to come to a day when you realize that He cannot fix everything.  Your heavenly Father watches over you to such a degree that not a hair can fall from your head without His will (Luke 12.7); in fact He causes all things to work together for your salvation (Romans 8.28).

Have you trusted God with the mangled mess of your life?  You can.  He is good and loving; gracious and kind.  He can fix it.