Thursday, November 29

Hello, God!

My just-turned-four year-old has recently become very vocal about His thoughts concerning God. His childlike faith challenges me. God is real to him, a person that he interacts with. It's like he's just talking out loud and trying to figure things out. Yesterday, he walked to the fridge to get his beloved Dora yogurt and casually threw out, "Mom, I love God." In the car, during a random conversation (or, like it usually is with 3 kiddos, multiple random conversations going on all at once!), he said, "I think God left, Mommy. " I assured him, that no, God didn't go anywhere.

"But, Mom, I can't see Him." I gave him my great theological reasons why this couldn't be, and he replied, very emphatically, "Yep. He's gone. Bye,God. " And He looked out the car window like he was watching God go.

I didn't even have to stretch my mind to be challenged by this one. Just a couple of days ago, a minor household crisis came, and I determined that God must have left, because I certainly couldn't SEE Him anywhere. I was certain He had left this time. Later, when things worked out, I felt sheepish, embarrassed, ashamed at my tiny, weak faith. I confessed.

And God was STILL there.

Tuesday, November 6

Plastic Jesus

I opened the Sunday paper to find the super-glossy, extra thick, coupon-laden TOY catalog from Target this year.In my house, this results in immediate "shopping, " wishing, circling of pictures, showing Mom and Dad all the features of each new, incredible toy, all the while Mom and Dad saying, "Now, remember, you are only getting 2 or 3 things!" I'm pretty sure 47 things ended up being chosen, but that number is only so low because Jackson didn't know he was supposed to pick a color-coded pen and started choosing!
But I did learn something interesting from all of this. Once the ink had cleared, Shelby's top two picks were a doll and a puppy that are incredibly life-like. They eat, drink, talk, learn your name, and yes, they wee-wee and poop! I started thinking, "Wow! The poor girl is going to be really stressed, since she's gonna have to take care of basically a real dog and a semi-real baby!" Then, I mentioned to Steve, "On the plus side, we'll never have to buy a puppy, cause this is better than the real thing!"
Funny thing is, that's what I've done with my faith for so long. I bought the plastic Jesus, the one "sold" to me from the glossy, religious, legalistic churches/schools I knew. The one that was created by man to fit man's demands and desires, who bears some resemblance to Jesus, but doesn't totally act like the un-plastic Jesus I'd read about in the Bible. The one that was my ticket out of eternal damnation, but didn't really DO miracles like He used to, and didn't really DO anything to give me an abundant life. No siree, that was all up to me. As long as I could keep the ever-changing rule list and get a good education and basically follow the world's philosophy of success, I was o.k. When crisis finally hit my adult life, I realized I didn't know what Jesus DID do. Now I've learned, or, I should say, I'm learning. I'm learning that the real Jesus didn't need my "battery" power. He did still do healing people's hearts, giving them the ability to forgive when it really was humanly impossible, giving hope in the everydayness of life. He did still speak, and not just do's and don'ts. And He did want things that were completely, utterly backwards from what the world asked. But He always followed those commands with a promise, like, "Don't worry about looking out for yourself. If you put yourself last, you'll be first." Or, "Find your delight in me, and I'll give you your heart's desires. " Funny thing is, He even changed those desires.
So, when I think He's asking me to do something too hard, and I'm tempted to go back to that fake Jesus that I can "turn off" whenever I want, I remember, in the paraphrased words of Dr. Phil, "How did THAT work out for you??" Not so much. And there's an eternal warranty on my Jesus, too. Think I'll stick with Him.