Charlie wasn’t listening again. It has seemed to be a huge pattern lately. So while laying in bed about to read him a book I decided to ask him what would make him a better listener.
Jesus. He said. (It happened, and I have the video to proove it)
Yeah, do you think you can ask Jesus to help you be a better listener?
Okay, why don’t you pray?
Dear God, Thank you for this day, and have Jesus make me better. Amen.
The faith of a child. So quick to know the answer, and not to second guess what that answer is.
This past Sunday was Student Ministry Sunday at our church. It is a week when our Student Ministry “Fusion” basically takes over the service, from welcoming everyone at the front doors, to announcements, to being on the worship team. It is a Sunday that gives me hope for my children, and a Sunday that throws me into passionate prayer for those serving from their love of Jesus, and for my own children that they would grow up being passioante about the same Jesus we are.
I say that because I remember being that age. I remember the passion that I had for Jesus, I remember my hopes to live a life for Him. And I remember how fast that passion faded.
Before I get there…
I was probably the teenager that everyone would put bets on if they were taking bets on whose faith would stay the strongest through the years. I was the one giving sermons during “layman” Sunday’s (our churches version of Student Ministry Sunday), I was eager to go to the Christian college I had gotten into, and I was very active in a local ministry in my town. I was always praying, and had faith that God could really do the impossible.
“to all the lost souls who have forgotten to believe in the immensity of love.”
One Tree Hill
But I didn’t go to the Christian college I had gotten into. I made the quick decision to go to a college only an hour away from my house. And almost as quickly as I made that decision, was as quickly as my passion and love for God began to fade when I began my first semester. I found a welcoming group of friends whose motto was “sharing is caring”. But these friends were not part of a student ministry I had needed.
Now, I did find a couple of girl friends that I am still close to this day. We have been in each others weddings, sat on each others couches eating ice cream and watching reality television, cried at shows like Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill, and probably know more about each other than we care to speak about.
Yet, I looked for love and acceptance from another crowd, and naively would do whatever I could to earn it. I had quickly forgotten the girl who didn’t care what people thought of her, and turned to chasing the desire to fit in where I didn’t belong. Chasing that desire only grew through the years as I went after filling a void that only God could fill… yet I didn’t look to Him to fulfill the immense love that only He would give me. In my mind, He wasn’t the answer my heart was looking for.
“The truth is, I was afraid of the immensity of your love.”
One Tree Hill
Maybe I wanted a more tangible love. One that I could put my hands on. One that made sense opposed to a love that reached to the depth of my soul that I can’t really put into words sometimes. That is the type of love that I stopped pursuing, but that is the love from a God who kept pursuing me.
I remember going to an Easter service one Sunday at a church that I had never been to before, and being so rocked to my core that I could barely walk down the stairs to get out of the church. I knew it was God, He was calling me, and I knew He wanted me to come back to follow Him. Yet I didn’t.
A few years after that I had even gone to church camp, and experienced His love again, and even made a commitment to Him again to turn my life around. Yet it only took a few weeks until I had settled back into a life apart from Him.
I find it pretty selfish that I knew He would always be there when I was ready to answer His whisper that was always calling me. He was always ready.
What are you so afraid of?
I remember when He asked me what I was so afraid of. I had gone to a service with my parents because they basically begged me to. It was a healing service and I was having some health issues. God had healed my mom’s friends son at one, and maybe she thought He could heal me too.
I sat in the pews watching as the pastor blessed people and they fell over. I can’t make this up. At the time I thought it was weird. And I will tell you that I definitely had some fear watching this happen as my pew was called to the front to be blessed. The pastor was in the middle of blessing my dad when he turned to me and looked me dead in the eye and said What are you so afraid of?
I knew that if it was all true, I had to follow Him with everything in me.
Now that I look back, I know that I wasn’t afraid of merely the falling over part. I think I knew that if it was all true, if God really did send Jesus to this earth to be born, to live, and to die, and to defy what we humanly know is true by turning water into wine, walking on water, healing the sick, and keeping His word and rising again from the dead… I knew that I had to follow Him with everything in me.
I was never going to be fulfilled by what I chased in this world. I was never going to find the answers I was looking for, except for giving my life to the One who IS the answer. Jesus.
There is a quote from One Tree Hill that I still remember to this day. The truth is, I was afraid of the immensity of your love. I think I can often find myself still afraid of His love, because of the immensity of it. Because if what He says is true, if He is who He says He is, then that demands obedience. There is no other choice but heartfelt, reckless, unabandoned obedience no matter where He calls.
And we can go on looking for answers if we choose, but the darkness doesn’t have any answers. Neither do the wind and the waves. There is only One who is the answer, and His name is Jesus.
So, God I want my answer to be like Charlie’s. When the how, who, or who questions come up, I want my first answer to be Jesus. Help us to trust not in what we want to figure out, but in You who already knows the answers. We want to be more confident in You who have called, than the call to “come”. So help us to trust in You, because of who You are and not what You have called us to do. And when you say “come” may we walk confidently in knowing who You are, the One who loves us so immensely that sometimes it can scare us. But help us to embrace that love, the love that is so immense that it was sent to us so that we can have eternal life with You. In Jesus Name, Amen.