Archive for July, 2010

When God Listens

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!

Hugs, Chrys

Rules Rule

We have a pool. That means we have a constant pile of wet beach towels in front of my washing machine. That also means I spend a lot of time saying these words, “Do NOT sit on the couch wet!” It seems that no matter how many times I say those words, the kids love to come in the house, use the towel until their skin is dry and then plop down on the couch, never considering the bathing suit they are wearing is still soaking wet. Yesterday, we repeated this process for the approximate 40th day of summer vacation. All I want is for them to put on dry clothes. Then they can sit anywhere and I won’t say a word.

I got to thinking how we sometimes wear our faith like a child asked to dry off and change clothes. The Bible is full of God’s words that promise good results in our lives, but we continue to ignore those requests. There’s a continuing debate about whether our God sits on His throne and decides if good things should come to you or me or the person next door. I’m not prepared to debate that issue on this Monday morning, but I do know this. God’s laws, rules, commands—whatever you want to call them—were never meant to bring harm, only good to those who choose to follow them.

Many years ago, as the director of a summer camp, I allowed the teenagers to play a game of basketball with no rules. They could run with the ball; they could kick it; they could foul anyone they want to foul. They looked forward to this “fun” way to play basketball. But, you can just imagine the chaos that occurred within five minutes of the game beginning. It was a great opportunity to sit the kids down after a few bumps and bruises and tell them that God’s “rules” for our lives are intended to bring peace and harmony to what promises to be a chaotic world. Every game comes with a set of rules. If this were not true, no one would enjoy the game. The rules make the game enjoyable. They give the game boundaries and direction. If we choose, and it’s a choice, to live life respecting the principles in the Bible, we can avoid so many of the pitfalls of life, keep the bumps and bruises to a minimum, and find life more enjoyable.

But, like children, we sometimes get lazy in our faith and believe we can get away with sitting on the couch in a wet bathing suit. In other words, we get lazy in doing good. The Bible warns against this in Galatians 6:9 where it says, “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing
good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”

Today is Monday. It’s a great day to get to some of the “God rules” you might have let go in your life. Again, I don’t know all there is to know about God answering prayer, but I do know that the scripture above tells me–I will harvest a good crop if I don’t give up! And you will to. Keep on keeping on and following God’s rules better living.

Have a great week.

Hugs, Chrys