Thursday, April 15, 2010

To Hold the Finger of God

Lately, I’ve been feeling disconnected from God. Today I went out on a walk during lunch because it was such a beautiful day and I couldn’t let that go to waste since the rest of my day was going to be spent inside. As I’m out on my walk I began to think about how disconnected I feel and why. Then I grab my phone and start to look at my facebook wall. Oops. I thought about reading my Bible, but didn’t really feel like it. Facebook opened and right as I began to read my wall, I felt prompted to exit the program. I did. I decided it’s time to try to connect with God again. I opened my Bible and picked up where I had left off, John 5.

Two thoughts were wondering through my mind as I walked. Eternal life is knowing God. This denotes relationship. The other thought was that of my counseling classes. The purpose of counseling is for the counselor to help a person overcome a place in life where they are stuck. This requires understanding. A counselor must first do his/her best to understand the client. This requires a genuine concern for the other person, communication skills, and the actual process of talking about the problem and getting to know the individual.

Knowing God. Understanding others. Knowing. Understanding.

A verse of scripture halfway through the chapter caught my attention. It is one I’ve heard before and understood from a perspective of ideal, but not too much, from one of experience. “The Son (Jesus) can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing, and in the same way.” Even Jesus only did what God was showing him to do. I imagine this requires a close personal connection to the Father. This requires knowing the Father. This requires understanding who God is and what He is doing. Knowing. Understanding.

As I read through the rest of the chapter, Jesus blasts the religious leaders because they don’t have life, they don’t believe Jesus was sent by God, and they don’t know God because they don’t have a clue as to what God is up to. (They think their rules are more important than healing people.) He reminds them how they should know God and Jesus as Messiah, but he makes it clear that they don’t. They would understand what he was about, if they knew Him.

Understanding. Knowing.

When parents raise their children with love, active involvement, the child’s best interest always in mind, selflessness and maturity, children grow in a safe environment where their needs are usually met. They mature with a real sense of trust in their parents because they’ve looked to them for support and they’ve received it. Their parents have demonstrated they can be trusted with their answers and guidance in life. This is not to say the parents have been perfect, but that they have been consistent and dependable. This environment and these relationships allow the child to grow and mature in ways that God intended and purposed. It doesn’t mean they never have problems or struggles, but that they can meet those challenges and overcome them.

When parents raise children and treat them as if they are a burden, look out for their own interests first, are not actively involved in their lives except when forced to be, continually put the kid’s needs aside because of their own desires, and act like children raising children, the child’s growth, maturity and general outlook on life will reflect such. They will often have severe emotional issues. They will struggle with learning to cope with even basic life problems. They may hoard food. They will often cry a lot. They will find whatever way they can to meet their need without regard to others. Additionally, they will most likely find it very difficult to ever develop a trusting relationship.

It’s sad, but true. I’ve seen the difference in kids. You can often see it in their actions and in their reactions. The differences in these two types of children and parents are great.

In these two scenarios I’ve described, the difference is the parents. In our biblical example, there is no difference. God is the same to both Jesus and those religious leaders. The difference is in understanding. The difference is in how they see their God. Do they see him as one who loves them and they can trust? Or do they seem him as one whose love is infinite and can always be trusted?

I imagined myself as a little child walking a path. When I see God as one who loves me completely and can always be trusted, I reach out my hand and HOLD THE FINGER OF GOD as we walk together along the path. I know He is the perfect Father. The last few weeks though, I’ve been a little five year old wandering a path by myself. Now mind you, I’m familiar with the path, but often become disoriented and distracted. Looking back, I know God has been there watching me, protecting me from harm, but I certainly wasn’t aware of it at the time.

When I reach out and HOLD THE FINGER OF GOD as a little child with complete faith and trust, I know I am walking in safe boundaries. I know God will lead me to better places. I am excited about the journey and not just the destination. All that I need will be provided. I have companionship that will never leave me.

I want to walk every day and HOLD THE FINGER OF GOD. Do you?

PS - As a parent, if you are struggling in your relationship with your son or daughter or they are wayward, my examples are not necessarily an indictment on your parenting. You may want to reflect and ask God what responsibility you hold, but in no way am I accusing parents for the wrongdoing of their children. I purposefully used the word "usually" because parenting is not a science. It is an art. And it involves the free will acting of more than one person. Besides, there is no perfect parent, except our heavenly Father.