Sunday, March 07, 2010

Look! Do you hear something?

One of my favorite lines in the movie Ghostbusters (which frankly, imo, is chock full of little bits of comedic genius) is when Ray says:
Listen...do you smell something?

It is funny because of the mixture of senses within the single sentence and in the movie, it appears that he is not even aware that he is mixing things around like that.  I thought of the line after our Sunday School class (ok, maybe it was actually during it) today.  One of our members was commenting about how God seems to have been so explicitly involved in the world of the OT.  From burning bushes to parting seas, creating floods, keeping believers from burning in a hot furnace, and other examples, God seems to be very present and active in the world.  This kind of culminates with the arrival of Jesus Christ as God actually walks in this world.  And of course, in the process of doing that, many miracles are performed.

But since then, it does not seem like God is actively involved in the world.  Yes, there are reports of miracles occurring.  But for some reason, it does not not strike us as being the same kind of involvement.

Sometimes I've wondered if part of the problem is that we Christians are looking too hard.  We become so focused on looking for signs of God that we fail to still ourselves and just listen.  Maybe it's the same idea we tell those looking for love - it is only when you stop trying so hard to find a boyfriend or girlfriend and instead just live your life, that is when you will find love.  Or at least increase your odds.  Similarly, if we stop looking so hard for God, we may discover that he is at work in the world just as much as always - we just fail to perceive Him.

All of this finally brings me to the point of this post.  Which I've been wanting to write for a couple days now - luckily I had not so I was able to make this connection with what happened in Sunday School.  About ten days ago we (that is, me and my wife) had an incident with our son.  He did something at school, not wrong, but troubling.  We talked with him about it and planned to make some changes.  Unfortunately, he then proceeded to engage in some disobedience with our directions, which of course only served to compound the problems. This resulted in him getting grounded.

It also made me do some searching for new ways to deal with him.  To that end, I invested in a couple books from Family Christian Bookstore to see if I'd get some parenting ideas.  One of them is Have A New Kid By Friday, which I am currently reading.  The first one I read was Raising A Modern Day Knight.  Hopefully I can put together a review of that in the next few days.  I will say one thing I really liked about it was the focus on connecting the concepts and ideas to the Bible.

So I am now in the process of implementing some of the ideas in the book.  One of the first steps was asking my son to come up with a definition of what a man is.  He is struggling a little bit but seems to be warming up to the conversations we've been having.  Another part of implementing the framework in the Modern Day Knight involved a couple gifts I gave my son.  This past Thursday was his birthday and I gave him a Bible and a journal to use for his journey to manhood that I have him now traveling.

On Thursday night, just before starting our "manhood" discussion and giving him his gifts, we were working on his nightly devotion.  In the middle of the story for that night, we came across this passage:
Strong is about being a man. And being a man means keeping promises.  Taking care of your family.  Walking away from a fight whenever you can. Respecting people, especially women. Honoring the Lord.

So after several days of working on a definition of what it means to be a man, and on the cusp of revealing this manhood journey to my son, right here in the middle of the devotion is a definition of what it means to be man.

Some will write this off to coincidence I'm sure.  But I think if one relaxes a bit and doesn't try quite so hard, one will perceive that this was God at work in my life and my son's life.  At just the right time and in just the right way, he revealed something to us that, at least in my case, was part of an answer to my prayers for guidance in dealing with my son.

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