Category Archives: God’s sense of humor

Having a Fathers Perspective

I think I’ve learned the most about my relationship with God through being a parent. I get it now: God “the Father” is a literal term. I also think that if I’m one of God’s children, I must be about nine years old in His eyes. That’s the age my oldest son is and I can already see the parallels.

My son still asks for my advice, but doesn’t always take it; I’m becoming but one of many options available. I see him in certain circumstances where I wish he’d ask for my advice. There are times it seems where I could teach him something, maybe show him a better way or even prevent him from hurting himself or others, physically or emotionally. But he doesn’t always ask, and I don’t always intercede. I just bite my tongue and think to myself, “This could end badly.”

I’m not sure, but I just have this sense God feels the same way about me.

My son still seeks my approval or consent for things he’s done or things he’s thinking about doing. Yet those times are becoming fewer and farther between. Even when he does, there are times when I want to tell him, “You don’t need my permission here. You don’t need my direction. You know this stuff already, just do it!”

In the same way, I still ask for God’s approval. I find myself still asking for silly things like ‘signs’ that I’m on the right track or making the right decision. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in asking God’s agreement or in continually letting Him in on your plans. (He knows anyway but I think He just likes to be in on the conversation.) But in my own case, I believe God sometimes uses these opportunities to remain in silence. It’s His way of saying, “You don’t need my consent here. You don’t need my direction. You know this stuff already, just do it!”

Where the key is, is in the aftermath of those moments, after I’ve sat in the overpowering silence; cursing my stupidity, doubting myself, my faith and my relationship, wondering if God is truly there for me. That’s the time that I have to forcibly remind myself that I’ve asked God to lead in my life and I have to trust, within the silence, that He’s still there: That the stillness I hear is neither disapproval nor rejection.

I cried out with no reply
And I can’t feel You by my side
So I’ll hold tight to what I know
You’re here and I”m never alone
      –“Never Alone” Barlow Girl

It’s God saying, “Do you trust me or not?”

My son, in many ways, is still a child. He’s still learning, exploring his boundaries, triumphing in his successes and licking his wounds in those “teachable moments”. I’m very proud of him and very worried about him; both because he’s my boy and because he’s just like me. Yet, within both the chaos and the silence I’m always there for him. I always have been and I always will be.

Again, I’m starting to have this sense God feels the same way about me.

Advertisements

Our Nosy Neighbors

Do you have one of those neighbors who are always keeping one eye out the window, watching you, watching your kids, knowing their every move?

Yeah, we’ve got one of those, too.

Don’t you hate that?

Our daughter Emma was six years old at the time. One early morning, Emma shuffled out the front door in her little, pink footy-pajamas to pick up the morning paper that she’d spotted from the window. She was out there just long enough to pick up the paper, and for the door to shut (and lock) behind her.

Our neighbors, nosy as they are, were looking out their window and just happened to see her. They watched as she picked up the paper. As the door shut. As she knocked. As she rang the doorbell.

And they watch as nobody answered. And nobody answered. And nobody answered.

So my nosy neighbor watched as his meddlesome wife comes out of their house and asks if our daughter is okay. He watched as she knocks and rings the doorbell for herself…

And he watched as nobody answered. Again. Still.

So my nosy neighbor and his meddlesome wife take my daughter back to their house, where they have a granddaughter that’s a year younger than Emma. And they feed her breakfast. And they talk to her. And they let her play with their granddaughter’s toys. Until later, as they’re looking out their windows again—nosy as they are—and they finally see movement inside our house. That’s when they came over to let the panic-stricken parents know that they have our child. And she’s safe. And happy. And fed. And safe. (Did I mention safe?)

Don’t you hate that?

Our lovingly innocent six-year-old li’l girl would’ve been just fine in that span of time. It’s not like anything bad would’ve happened, right? Right?!

Yeah, right. Between her knocking on our front door and all the time spent at our neighbor’s, she was gone for AN HOUR AND A HALF!

And for the record, I think our neighbors are absolute saints. Thank God they were looking out the window at just the right time to see Emma in her predicament. Thank God they have a granddaughter of their own who is one of our daughter’s best friends. Thank God they have the caring demeanor to take her in, feed her some breakfast, and let her play with her friend’s toys—even if that friend lay sacked out on the couch due to the early hour. Thank God they have the patience to wait for an hour and a half while we obliviously wake ourselves up to whatever the day unfolds.

So…

Do you have one of those neighbors?

Thank God if you do!

P.S. Just so you know, my wife and I are not horrible parents (especially my wife . . . hi honey!) and our daughter does not go wandering off on a daily basis. Usually, she’ll go down to the end of our block, round the corner and look back, a) to see if we’re really watching her (We are), and b) to see if we’re still going to stop her (We do).

In fact, since this little episode with the neighbors, she won’t even go out the front door without one of us or her big brother tagging along, “C’mon mommy, let’s go!!”

Ya gotta love that!

Here’s Your Sign

I asked God for a sign yesterday; a confirmation on a choice I was considering. You see, after 40+ years, I think I finally know what I want to do with my life. All I needed was to find out if my envisioned purpose fit into God’s plan and His intended use of my talents (whatever they may be).

So I asked.

Yeah, that was a mistake.

I was praying on the way home last night and somewhere in the conversation I said, “You know, if I could just see that XX amount of people have read my post today, I’ll know that this is what I should be doing and I’ll know that my ideas for the direction of this website and my writing is where You want me to go.”

Can you guess how many readers I had when I got home?

Nope . . . lower.

Nope, lower than that too.

I went to sleep deflated, depressed and a few other de- adjectives. I woke up questioning (something I’m really, really good at.) and I asked my wife what she thought of the whole situation. Li’l Miss Pragmatic’s answer was, of course, “What does the bible say about ‘signs’?” So I looked . . .

Matthew Chpt. 12:38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.

Luke Chpt. 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Or to put it more bluntly, Jesus tells the Pharisees, ‘I’ve been giving you miraculous signs all along and you still don’t believe.’ Gabriel tells Zechariah, ‘There’s a freakin’ angel standing in front of you and you still don’t believe.’ To me, they both say pretty much the same thing; the same thing that God is perhaps telling me by pointing these passages up: “I’ve been showing you signs, what good is one more going to do?” Then, when I look back over the road I’ve taken to get to this point, yeah, I can see signs that have probably been there all along . . .

First of all, regardless of the number of readers I have, I enjoy writing. I get a certain satisfaction in putting the final period, the final edit, onto a potential post.

Second, it didn’t take long for the direction of my writing to become clear. The original intent of Full Retail Christianity (my original blog), was basically going to be glorified bitching about my job. Who cares! But when I started writing more from my heart, writing from a perspective of questions I had or observations I saw, (starting essentially with D.Faults and Freaks and on since) it got easier. It got more satisfying. And, it started to resonate.

Third, I can see the direction for the future and a conclusion to the purpose of undertaking this in the first place. In other words, I know where I want to go, and I have ideas on how to get there.

And God sits up there and goes, “See??!!”

So, do I think asking for a sign was a mistake? Yeah, I do. All it did was ruin a night’s sleep and cause me undo stress and worry. Worry that, had I fffaaaaaiiiittttthhhhh (over-emphasis on the obvious!), I never would have had to endure in the first place. What good would one more sign do anyway? If I’ve asked God to lead in my life, what right do I have to continually ask, in essence, “Are you still there, God? Can you show me? Are you still leading me? Are you sure? God??”

Maybe, the takeaway of all this is, if you’re looking for a sign, don’t look up, look around. If you’re looking back through faith in the One who you’ve asked to lead in your life, the road’s most likely littered with them. If it’s not, well, that’s probably a sign.

“See??!!”

Whatever you do, don’t pray for patience!

A lot of things have been said about God: Some of which are actually good. One thing that can’t be said however is that God doesn’t have a sense of humor. If you want to test that theory, just try praying for patience sometime.

This is one area where the old adage rings true: “God doesn’t grant you patience. He grants you the opportunities to show patience.”

Except there’s only one problem with that: I don’t want opportunities to show patience.

I want PATIENCE. And I want it NOW, dammit!

But that’s not the way it works in the life of spiritual growth now, is it? What good would it do for God to just give us patience like that? What would we have learned? No, no, my friend; look at it through the omniscient lens of our Creator; the gift is not in the acquiring, but in the process to acquiring. I can just picture my Heavenly Father looking down on me as I pray for patience at the start of another workday, shaking his head in a resigned melancholy and saying, “Ooooooookay . . . .”

I know. I’ve done it with my own son: Usually when it involves a ramp of cushions, a flight of stairs and a laundry basket.

Ooooooookay . . .

In other words, “This is probably going to end badly.”

And besides, don’t think that they don’t have “Heaven’s Funniest Home Videos” up there. You’ve got to think that even though they’ve seen it a million times, all of heaven goes nuts for this stuff; you know they do! I mean, how many times have you seen “Guy gets hit in the crotch with a Basketball”? It’s still funny! And, when our children are poised at the top of the stairs, all smiling confidence and self-assurance saying, “Watch me! Watch me!”, who are we as parents to say ‘no’? We could. In fact, we probably should, in most cases. But more often than not, these are what we like to refer to as “learning opportunities”, or “teachable moments”.

So, we bite our lip, watch the carnage unfold, apply the antiseptic and band-aids, and say things like, “its okay . . . its okay.” All the while mentally whispering to ourselves, “I knew it . . . I knew it.” After all, in the end it’s not what our kids want, it’s what we know is best for them that matters; like life-lessons on gravity and hard surfaces. Why should our Father be any different with us? It’s that omniscient thing again—like he knows everything. Like how we don’t need patience, we need to learn patience.

Dammit!