Present to Help

I love to teach children’s classes at church. I would not say I am all that talented for it, but it is a pleasure of mine. I did not regularly go to church until I was 10, but  I had a Beginner’s Bible when I was just learning to read. I remember the stories coming alive. I remember dreaming, hoping and praying that God would call me special like He did Hannah, Samuel and Mary, but especially like Elijah and Jonah with whom I identify with most. Sharing those stories is so much fun for me.

A few stories stuck out to me most, Elijah with the prophets of Baal, Hannah and her encounter with Eli, Jonah and his fish-belly repentance, and a man of palsy who had faithful friends bring him to Jesus through a roof. The last one always baffled me, how those friends were so decisive that they interrupted the teachings of Jesus and opened up the tiles on a roof to lower a lame man down in front of large group of followers, literally putting themselves in the center of attention.

But as I prepared this week’s Sunday School lesson, something entirely new about that last story came to life to me. In Luke 5:17 the story is just beginning, “And it came to pass on a certain day, as  {Jesus} was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”

The stage is set for this miracle to occur, and the scene is full of wealthy, well educated, able-bodied people. And the Power of the Lord was present to heal them. These men must have been intimidating in their proper religious robes and meticulous manners. And God Himself came, able to heal them.

What an incredible missed opportunity when they did not seek Him. When the humbled, uninvited lame man and his faithful friends arrived, they stopped Jesus with their act of faith. These men found more than the physical healing they were searching for, but also the forgiveness of their sins over their act of faith.

I found myself in awe over this story from my childhood all over again. God is so merciful, gracious, and kind. He was right there, able and willing to heal those in attendance, but so few sought what God had to offer. I wonder how often Jesus had something for me, but I was too busy, prideful or afraid to seek the possibilities.

 

Converstations on Truth

My kids are 16 months apart, and boy are they competitive! They were all getting buckled and began shouting back and forth, “I am bigger than you!” “No!! I am bigger than you are!” It only took a few back and forth comments before it started to escalate into unkind tones, so I interjected.

While they were both at fault, the older was obviously the one getting angry. So I stopped what I was doing, looked at her and very quietly, almost whispered, “Your name is Adelle.”

She looked at me very intently. I think she expected something more and she was listening for it. So just a little louder than before, I said, “Your name is Adelle.” While she was still listening closely, she looked a bit puzzled, so I continued, this time in a normal talking voice, “Your name is Adelle.” While I could tell she was starting to think I was a bit odd, I once more, in a louder, firmer, but kind tone said, “Your name is Adelle.”

And that is when the conversation began. Which statement was more true? Did raising my voice make it more believable? Adelle seemed to understand that you do not have to yell to proclaim the truth.

So we finished buckling and began our drive.

Five minutes down the road and JJ tells Adelle that he is this many, while holding up two fingers. This make Adelle very angry and she yells, “I ALREADY KNOW THAT!”

Enter truth conversation number 2.

“Adelle, I know your favorite colors are pink and purple.”

“Yes! They are!”

“You are probably going to tell me that again. Should I yell at you and tell you that I already know that.”

“No,” *giggles*

“Do I have to be wrong about something for you to tell me?……Right, we are just making conversation, and it makes you happy to tell me things and it makes me happy to hear them. Let’s just be happy with JJ when he tells us things.”

And a few more minutes later the two are arguing a yes-it-is no-its-not conversation.

“Adelle, your name is Adelle, if I tell you it is Susie, does that change the truth?….what about if I tell your friends your name is Susie, would that make your name Susie?…..How about if I tell strangers your name is Susie?…..Sweetie, it does not matter if your brother, or anyone believes something is true or not, that doesn’t change what is true.”

Sweet girl gave some awesome feedback and really seemed to understand some things on truth during our commute yesterday. I know it is only a start though, because if there is anything I’ve learned about children, is that they need a lot of repetition! But you know what? So do I. The Bible says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:15, but how often do I forget before opening my mouth?