A simple answer in my son's Bible curriculum stopped me short.
".....I guess I don't have much of a testimony. I was only 12.......but I'm glad I didn't waste half of my life procuring a 'good' testimony."
Yes, Son, I'm glad too, you didn't!
But the issue he addresses here is a serious one.
How often are our "good- christian- home -raised" kids made to feel like this? How often does the "hell raising sinner's" conversion story get repeated over and over and glorified??
We carefully guard our children's environment. We teach them of Christ before they can talk. We read the Bible to them and then teach them to read it as soon as they can sound out "God". We teach them that we are all lost souls in need of a Saviour . We teach them the story of Adam. We tell them that through disobedience the whole race of mankind has lost a relationship with God and must find it only through the saving power of Christ's blood . We stress there are no Christians by inheritance and God has no grandchildren and clever things like that to try to instill in them that they are lost even though they are being raised in a Christian home.
We tell them never to do "those bad things"!
We rejoice when they give their heart to God and acknowledge to Him that they are lost and doomed for punishment without Him. We rejoice and baptize them and we praise God with them.
And then....then what??
Who ,outside of their parents ,(if we even do enough)encourages them, walks beside them, reminds them they were a sinner saved by grace!!!? Who affirms to them that they are remarkable , a set apart holy vessel unto God, special in His eyes and ours because they chose Him!!??? Who looks close enough to notice when the dark temptations of this world try to allure that "good kid" ? Who is there to remind him of the reaping and the sowing and how very very blessed he is that he will never have to live to regret???
Does He see or hear enough of that?
He sees the "new convert" that everyone flocks around. You know the one, the drunk who lived under the bridge who now sits in the church pew. He hears the exclaiming about the mighty power of God that worked in that man's life.
He listens to the testimony of guest speaker who spent in his life in riotous living and now found the answer to his soul's cry. And he hears the Amen's and hallelujah's roll when that man says he stands here by the grace of God .
He watches when the fatted calf is killed for the rebellious son who returns after years of running from God.
He attends all the returned missionary film shows about the amazing work of God among the sin darkened heathens.
He sees. He listens. He watches.
And somewhere along the line , he begins to feel that his conversion didn't really amount to much. He begins to question whether he really knows the grace of God. He wonders if maybe a person does need to continues in sin in order for grace to "abound".
He feels insignificant. He's just the "good kid".
And when the tempter whispers that there are good things out there to see and experience, he listens...because he has heard it sound so exciting.
And when the discourager tells him "who cares" , he listens.... because he's not sure anymore if anyone does.
And when the dark one taunts 'hath God said" , he wavers, because....he thinks ,maybe ,just maybe, he's not saved.
And while the saints rejoice over the prodigal and while the missionary recounts the conversion of the demon possessed, the good kid slips outside the door.
He becomes the runaway, the sinner...
Then we all pray...we mention his name at every prayer meeting. We rock heaven's gate with our fervent prayers for his salvation and his return.
But what if he doesn't ...then what...what if the lies and whispers grow so strong ,he takes his own life, as a "good kid", my son's friend, did just yesterday.
It is too late for that "good kid" but then...maybe then....
....will we gather our children around and tell them how blessed they are...how valued they are.....how in the sight of God there is no respect of persons? Will we remind them that we are so very blessed by their godly, right choices and tell them how special a sanctified vessel is in the service of God? Will we tell them they are so wise to feel "glad that (they) didn't waste half of (their) life procuring a good testimony"?
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
"Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? ...Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?....By the breath of God frost is given ..." selected from Job
Are there days when it just takes too much energy to care? Are there things that just hurt too much to think about because they make you "care"? Is the burden of caring just too much so you try to shrug it off?
Maybe those questions seem strange to you. Maybe you never felt any of those.
Today I feel like all of those.
Yes, I know that sounds awful. That sounds "UN"- caring.
But the truth is I ...have a lot of times like this.
I started today with being drawn into the little arbor of frosted trees that I shared with you in my photo. There's something about the mysterious depths of a frosty forest that always pulls me in. I want to know the "treasures of the snow". I want to know deeper the breath of the God who made the frost.
But...in knowing more ...in getting close enough to feel the breath of God, along with all the sweetness of joy you also will find something else.......your heart will be broken by what breaks His.
It continued for me with a simple question from a friend's status on facebook, "What stirs you?" I thought about that. It wasn't hard for me to think of three things that stir me: the hopelessness of an addict, broken marriages, wimpy Christians. I felt a twinge as I wrote the last and I felt the familiar tightening of caring about something and feeling powerless to do anything about it.
IF I care enough it stirs me and If I do nothing doesn't that make me a wimpy Christian?
It grew more intense as I read a link from another commenter under that post, a link about the plight of millions of children in deplorable orpahanages around the world.
It grew even more reading another's link on the sin of abortion in our country.
At this moment in time I have little resources to DO anything about most of these things that break my heart.
BUT...am I ignoring it all because it really takes energy, time and commitment to care and yes, it hurts to care?
Am I doing what I could be doing? Am I sacrficing wherever and whenever I can to do whatever I can, no matter how small? Am I spending time passing on the burden of the heart of God to my children to give them a heart to care and prepare them for the time when they can do something about it?
Recently a son told me that he feels like with all the children needing a home he should adopt instead of just having his own. Forget all the questions of theolology or right or wrong of that feeling, was my hesitation because I selfishly just want to see and know MY son's children? Shouldn't I just thank God for that expression of the heart of God in my son? So do I really care if I know deep inside that sometimes I try not to because it hurts too much?
Today I want to know more intimately the breath of the God who made the frost. i want my heart to break with what breaks His and I want to try to show that caring.