[Word count: 620. Approximate read time: 2-3 minutes]
“Here’s my plea
I want to see your face, feel your warm embrace,
And lay here like a child
In your loving arms, where I’m safe from harm,
And the sorrow fades away.”
—Crystal Lewis, “Like a Child”
Just woke up from a bad dream where I had to relive when my Papa told me he was dying. A friend suggested I re-read the blog I wrote about it. In that story I remember how, from a place of ignorance, God swept in and rescued me before calamity could crash in on top of me. That all took place when I was still 19.
I turn 33 on Tuesday. A lot changes in 13 years. I’m more skeptical than I was as a young adult, a little world weary in places. I believe less readily than I once did. My once-shiny faith is a little dog-eared and yellowish now. It’s like a sun-beaten rubber band, dried and showing cracks. I fear if I stretch it to believe, it may snap.
“…Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him… Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out? So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief…’” —Matthew 17:18-20a
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” —Mark 9:23
Right now, I’d very much like to believe that God is still able to sweep in and rescue me when the situation is too much to handle like he did then. He did it for me at 19. I hope I haven’t grown too big for that at 33. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” I hope so.
I’m the youngest of my mother’s children, so she still worries and frets a bit over me now and then. That’s sweet, but overall, we relate differently now that I’m an adult. Out of respect, there are boundaries she will not cross.
As it relates to God, however, I am still a child. A big one with salt beginning to season his pepper beard. There is still so much I just don’t “get.” I still need Him to give me insight when I come to a crossroads. I still need Him to step over my boundaries when my boundaries are ill thought out. I still need Him to grab me by a handful of my shirt and give me “that look.”
The bottom line is this: I can be my own mother and father, but I can’t be my own god. I’m not qualified to take over that job. I’m not ready yet. I may never be. It’s so ironic. You spend your teenage and young adult years fighting tooth and nail to assert your independence. Then once you get it, you just want to give it back, have someone tuck you in, ground you for the weekend, and cook something you can’t stand for dinner.
“Take me back to the time
When I was maybe 8 or 9
and I believed
When Jesus walked on waters blue
and if he helped me, I could too
if I believed
Before rationale, analysis, and systematic thinking
Robbed me of a sweet simplicity
When wonders and when mysteries
Were far less often silly dreams
and childhood fantasies
Help me believe
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss any miracles
Maybe I’d see much better by closing my eyes
And I would shed this grown up skin I’m in
To touch an angel’s wing
And I would be free
Help me believe.”
—Nichole Nordeman, “Help Me Believe”
- The Shakes (junkyardsalvation.com) — “There is a very singular way her hand shakes when Mom prays for me… It’s just the slightest bit stronger than the dryer on its final spin cycle.”
- Please Don’t Leave Me (4/22/13) (junkyardsalvation.com) — We view God through our experiences with people. This is a problem. A look at what happens when abandonment issues influence spirituality.
- Worship, Unconscious (11/12/12) (junkyardsalvation.com) — God is not dead, but most days he appears to be sleeping soundly, deeply. If someone you loved was unconscious and nonresponsive, what would you do?