Teenagers are strange creatures, wouldn’t you say? I now have two teen grandchildren. They have typical teen traits like a seemingly unending source of energy into the wee hours of the night, but not an ounce of it in the early morning hours; confidence and independence when they decide they can cook or drive (scary), but are filled with insecurities when faced with the decision to attend a teen event and don’t know who else will be there; complete love and devotion to parents and grandparents, but the ability to look right past them when they are in a group of their peers in a public place. Yes, it’s both fun and alarming to watch any teen as they navigate the turbulent teen years like skittish horses waiting for the gun to be fired and the race to begin.
Last week, our oldest grandson (to be left unnamed for his privacy and my protection if he ever reads this) came over to help me move something (here’s where they do come in handy). We finished up that job and had a fun time playing a challenging ping-pong match. Youth won the first match and experience the second, so we decided to stop there. The heat was near unbearable that night, so we headed to the kitchen for a drink. Then, we settled in to “talk.” This is the part I love. I learned a long time ago that when a teenager talks it’s better than E.F. Hutton and you really need to listen. He talked a little about his day and what’s going on in his life, but determined the bulk of his conversation would be about a book he’s reading. As he talked, I realized I did not care one bit about that book (however, happy he’s a reader), but I used the conversation time to examine him. I noticed the way his face was changing and how straight his teeth are now and thought he should be getting his braces off soon. I marveled that his arms had muscles and his legs had hair. While he still sounded like himself, his voice was low and manly and I spotted a few hairs above his upper lip. He seemed so grown up, telling me about this 700 page book he was reading, but to me he is still my little “buddy”– the one who followed me around like a shadow the first four years of his life. I could still see the bright smile and deep dimples that absolutely charmed me as he toddled around my house with a bag of popcorn, his favorite treat for many years. As I watched him talk so fluently, using big words, about the characters in the book, I could still hear him chatting on and on, in a little boy voice, about a Disney character in a movie we had seen together or a cartoon character he loved. I used my “talking” time wisely to observe this little boy who is growing up too quickly.
Our earthly relationships always mirror our heavenly ones and I envision God listening to us, His children, as we talk about events he already knows have happened and those that will happen in the future. I imagine that He watches us, not listening so much to our words, but looking for changes physically and spiritually and then listening to our hearts. I know He marvels at us, too, when we seem grown up and young both at the same time. He smiles at us as He remembers our past when perhaps we were insecure about our faith and now looks at us with pride as we mature in our faith and speak confidently about topics such as grace, peace, and the hope of heaven. He weeps when we talk of the hurts that have entered our lives and He cheers us on when we struggle to overcome them. He never gets tired listening to us talk on and on and on because He loves us and we are His children.
I love how The Message says this verse found in Psalm 4:3, “Look at this: look Who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to him.” Don’t you love that you are picked by God and one of the blessings of that choosing is that He is ready to listen at any second. I hope my grandchildren feel that special when they come into my presence—like they were handpicked and chosen to be my grandchildren and I am ready to listen at the split second they call on me. But reality tells me that often I’m busy on the computer or on the phone or listening to someone else when they call out to me. So, my greater desire is that they know they have a Heavenly Father who IS ready to listen the split second they call Him.
Have a great day, knowing someone is listening to YOU!