Saturday, September 12, 2009

a telling breakfast

At the breakfast table:

Momma:  "Timothy, since you're almost six now, I think you need to try milk with your cereal, as well as other new foods.  It is easier and faster to eat cereal with milk, and it tastes better.  We're starting school on Monday and breakfast needs to go faster."

Timothy (in aggravated, whiny voice):  "But I don't like milk!" (He only drinks the Nestle Quick kind of chocolate milk.)

Momma:  "I know you get scared about trying new foods.  When you're scared, ask Jesus for help with bravery.  And I will start praying more about your diet.  You are missing too many fruits and vegetables.  They help you live with less pain and less suffering."

Timothy:  (Whining) "But I don't like Jesus anymore.  And I don't like doing that Bible study anymore.  I stopped listening.  Jesus makes me feel like I always have to work.  I want to play all day!" (No, I didn't make this stuff up.  This kid is wrestling with God.  What a telling statement his last one is (in bold).  We all want our own way, don't we?)

Momma:  "I see a lot of evidence that you love Jesus.  And I see evidence every day that Jesus is working in your heart.  What about when you dance with Mommy, to the Jesus songs on the radio?  That makes you so very happy!"

Timothy:  "But I can't see Jesus."

Momma:  "Faith is believing in things we cannot see.  God puts faith in our hearts.  You don't have to try to believe.  God will do the work."

Timothy:  "But I don't believe in ANYTHING I can't see!" (Man, he's precocious, I'm saying to myself.)

Momma:  "It's true that we don't see Jesus.  But we see evidence that he is here.  When Daniel aggravates you and makes you so very mad, you are patient with him and you always forgive him quickly.  That is God--the Holy Spirit--working in your heart.  On our own, we don't forgive people easily; sometimes we don't forgive and forget at all."

(He was still listening intently, so I kept going.) "And when a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly, you can see Jesus through that.  Something as wonderful as that doesn't happen by accident.  The world is too beautiful and too perfect to be an accident."

"The comfort Jesus provides us is another bit of evidence that he exists.  We can only comfort ourselves in ways that don't last--like with a new toy, a piece of chocolate cake, a cold drink, or a blanket.  Jesus comforts us in our hearts and minds, and it lasts--if we don't get distracted from him.  And he provides for our needs."

An aside:  If you're wondering why some people starve to death, I think the answer is that God put enough food on the earth--he continues to do so--but we fail to share it.  We don't do our part.  It's a mystery why God allows us to continue to turn our backs on the hungry of the world.  Governmental corruption in starving countries certainly contributes--the logistics are complicated.  We can't put a military presence in every corrupt country.  But we can send more food via missionaries, via planes, etc.  More can be done, even though some of the food will end up in corrupt hands. Just feeding hungry people makes it more likely that they'll rise up against the corruption--on their own.  We can even contribute more to the starving in our own country--via food banks, soup kitchens, etc. I submit to you that we are too comfortable.  Sometimes, being comfortable is wrong, but only insofar as it blinds us to another's hunger--whether that hunger be physical or spiritual.  

Just being somewhat uncomfortable for the past several months has opened my eyes greatly.  I welcome more discomfort.  I don't want blindness.  I suspect God is growing me into a missionary.

Timothy:  "But I want to see him."

My preaching ended there.  Timothy is a mathematician.  A scientist.  He might always struggle with belief.  There's no doubt in my mind that he loves Jesus; the last six months have brought too much evidence.  Just the fact that he is uncomfortable--from the workings of the holy spirit, no doubt--is strong evidence.   Spiritual growth is never comfortable.

The most important task now is to make sure the Gospel of grace is getting through.


Carolyn said...

You are offering so much wisdom to your kids. They are blessed to have you as a mom.

Regarding comfort: This is so where my heart is. After listening so much to John Piper and hearing him speak frequently on having an eternal focus, I am convinced that it is impossible to live a radically obedient life for Christ if you are pursuing comfort, pleasure and safety. So you go girl!

Terri Tiffany said...

I'm commenting way down on this post cause I couldn't find a way to do it on your more recent ones:) Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today and offering me some suggestions on my query. You are so right. I HAVE been struggling with it and reworking it so many times that I amm sick of it! I wanted it strong but I know it came out wordy:) Thanks for reading my story on Mary DeMuth's site too--I think writing a story is much easier than a query or synopis.
You should be writing now--you did great with it!
And about the financial status-- we are there too and really understand now how hard people are having it. Never fully understood the fear and depression that can occur when living unemployed. I judge less too now!