The barrage of questions launched by my two youngest kids was driving me crazy this morning. I had opened my Bible, like some ultra-holy dude, to have a quiet time with God, but these two hooligans wanted a loud time with me.
At first I was frustrated and wanted to scrooge them away. But in the midst of their volley of ridiculous curiosities (like “What if horses had to wear hairnets?” and “If batman was real could we teepee his statue? and “Could I make a catapult that works with bubbles?” and “Why does syrup make oatmeal hotter?”), I couldn’t help but smile and I couldn’t help but think: If only I would pester God my Father this way.
My kids, aged 9 & 13, were sprawling on the couch and floor of my office. I was sitting at my desk, trying to read the book of Titus. Titus is a short book in the New Testament with some serious-sounding guidelines for our daily lives — The kind of instructions I now wanted to hoist upon my boisterous children… (“respect” and “obey” and “submit”). Of course, considering my navel-gazing posture, I had little desire to personalize the written instructions to the elders… (“be blameless” and “don’t be arrogant” and “don’t be quick-tempered” and “have strong faith and be filled with love and patience”). But as I read the wise counsel of scripture, and as my children persisted in their unrelenting pursuit, the tight-wad was tugged out of me and the renewed heart was stirred within me. The reminders of freedom in Jesus that loudly resound in the book of Titus wouldn’t allow me to be the quiet miser any longer.
In the frenzy of my office this morning, I realized that my kids just wanted to be with me. Yes, some further maturity would be nice… but that growth will come to their life as I continue to allow them to come to me. I began to see this morning that when my attitude was closed to my kids, their verbiage seemed assaulting to my angst-riddled heart. And I noted that when my attitude changed, when I was open to receive their very vocal desire to be with me, I actually began to enjoy their absurdity and laugh in my heart.
Later, I apologized to them for being grumpy… and shared with them that my time in the Bible, and my time with them, had the effect of a laxative for a constipated soul. 🙂
One passage in the book of Titus particularly helped free me. It is a pestering reminder to someone who would like to control the environment. But, I relented, how could I continue as a curmudgeon in the face of this sort of persistence from Jesus?
But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.
-Titus 3:4-7 NLT