This is not a post from a sweet, gray haired, “got it all figured out” Christian lady . I am just a person who sometimes lies awake at night wondering about life and who I am and why I’m here.
This is a week where a family member has died. It’s a week when a child has asked me “do you think it would be okay to have fun and not be sad?” I have come to a conclusion. It is not a crime to be happy. The world is full of terrible things, even so, it is more of a crime to be sad than to be happy. We were made to be happy. That is good news.
All the terrible things in the world didn’t come about by chance. They were not put here for us by an uncaring God either. We chose those things ourselves, most of them, and others came because we chose to hang out with a bad gang bent on destruction. Those terrible things, all of them, came when we didn’t believe what we were told about how to be happy.
It is somewhere deep in our being to think, and then say “NO, I do it myself!” Why is it so hard for us to believe that we are not the smartest, most reasonable, most capable, most invincible beings ever? Why is that so hard? Why do we act like a two year old child when we are told what will be best for us? Why does it take us fifty, sixty, seventy, ninety years to realize that we are not in control and that our days are going to run out. Those days go by faster and faster, begging us to look the issue straight on, to decide whether we will let ourselves acknowledge our parent who knows more than we do, our creator, and call him God.
I am not a preacher or a missionary. Sometimes I wish I were a missionary and could go to some land where life is very difficult, much more basic and simple. People there do not need to be convinced that there is a God. Most of the time they just need to be told and they recognize it as what they’ve been longing to hear and know. I live in a land where people think too much about some things and too little about other more important things – but there is a lot of thinking going on. Thinking like that young child, which is pretty much “what do I want now?”
This whole question of what’s going on with life can be learned by studying that parent – child relationship. It’s all there. I’ve had kids. I know. I’m not talking about all the bad variations of it that we have managed to come up with. A true parent longs for the child from the moment it is conceived in the mind, becomes more in love with it as it develops, protects it, delights in seeing it progress, grow and assume unique qualities. A true parent is concerned with the lifelong happiness of the child and has a better picture of how that is to be achieved than does the child. The toddler sincerely thinks he is capable, because he knows what he wants now. He does not know what he will want later – he has to be told that and don’t expect him to understand. Really, you can’t even tell him.
Can you see how we are kind of like toddlers all our lives? We try one thing that we want after another, trying to feel big and important and smart and we will do it ourselves. We are not able to understand. We will test. We will insist. A good parent knows this will happen and plans for it. A good parent would die to keep their child safe and bring them through those tests. I am not a perfect parent but I feel that way about my kids. I think God feels that way about me.
I live in a world that is crazy with design and beauty, full of things meant to be good, meant to produce growth. I’m like that baby that grows up in the home provided by the parents – it’s child-proofed and I’m surrounded by toys to amuse and educate me. I’m watched over, cared for. Could I possibly think I put all that in place myself ? More and more, I know that I did not do it myself.
I lie awake at night thinking about this. Why does this even make sense to me? Why doesn’t it make sense to everyone – that’s what I wonder. Am I missing something?