Sometimes, I do a good job teaching my child about her relationship with God. She can sing “Jesus Loves Me” all the way through and knows that God loves her. Her Sunday school lesson recently reminded them to treat others nicely. Then there are times when I feel woefully inept in teaching someone about the love of God the lengths of which my finite mind is still not able to fathom. It’s in those moments that I hear that still small voice, reminding me that there is something greater than me at work in her life and mine.
In my early life as a Christian, I was always looking for the burning bush or the blinding light from heaven. “If you are with me Lord, speak!” I think that comes with the fervency of any new convert. The “charge the gate of Hell with a water pistol” mentality takes over. Some describe it as being “on fire” for the Lord. If anything, I have learned as I go deeper in my relationship with Christ, it’s not the loud booms that we should look for, but the whispers.
My child is like me, she loves to be outside. The winter is rough on her, because in trying not to finance her pediatrician’s summer home, I try to keep her inside as much as possible. So, when the air turns the least bit warm, when the sun comes out even a little bit, she’s ready to go outside. We are seeing more spring-like temperatures where we are and so each day when I pick her up from school, her first question is can we go to the park? (As a dad on a budget, one of the best pieces of advice I can give is find a local park with some play equipment close to your home. It’s a cheap trip that allows them to run and play in relative security. Just get off your phone so you won’t miss it.) I, being the pushover that I am, readily agreed and pointed my truck toward the park.
When we get there, the swings are the first destination. Then, we head to the playground equipment. On one side of the equipment, there are stairs. You know, the safe way to get to the top. On the other side, there is a plastic ladder-wall contraption that allows the children to climb up. My child is stubborn and hard-headed like her father. The first thing she does is run around to the ladder, smile at me, and say “I go up here, daddy.”
I’m realistic in the fact that my two and a half-year-old cannot climb to the top of the ladder without falling and injuring herself. I tell her, “You can’t do this without me.” I also know it’s important for her to succeed to build confidence in herself. Instead of pulling her off, I decide to let her try. As she goes up, I guide her every step, I encourage her each time she puts her little foot on the next rung. I also have complete control of her little body as she strains to climb. My hands are no further than a ½” from her back at any time. I’m all for self-development, but I am not about to let her fall.
Although I basically made sure that she couldn’t fail, in her mind, when she got to the top, she was accomplished. She turned around with the beautiful smile she has and says, “Daddy I did it!” In that moment, I heard that little whisper.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2nd Corinthians 5:16-20)”
Too often in my own life, when I am facing a climb I try to do it under my own will. My rebellious nature is to look at God and say, “You know what Big Guy, take a water break on this, I got it.” I am guilty of this far too often. I am far too guilty of the idolatry of self. I think that I am capable under my own power of doing anything. When in reality, everything I face, be it a hard climb, or straight pathways, God is with me, His hand never far from me to catch me when I fall.
The same Father who has His hand at my back has His hand at yours. Your Father looks at you the same as I do my daughter. He delights in the smile on your face when you look at Him. He desires to aid you in whatever you face, big or small.
You simply need to call to Him, and He will have already caught you before you fall. This is the hope of all those who call themselves followers of Christ.
It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)