Saturday, August 13, 2011

#16 - Calm Waters for Ex-Teens

“SLOW DOWN!” my silver-haired wife would say loudly to me, more than once, in my quick pace to find a familiar road sign and determine where we were in a tossing sea of signs and sounds. Without any on-hand help from technology to get a hold on where we were, a desperate turn into a small fast-food restaurant to put a hold on our confusing fast journey farther into our unknown.

In an earlier HELP CRIES #13 – God's Little by Little segment, we touched on some of God's schedule of His blessings for us, and why. He further emphasizes our need to SELAH 'pause and retaste' his blessings to us in even longer periods. He gives us one day of the week to pause and think about our actions, events, plans of the past and coming week. He wants us to not just have fun or survive each day and week; He has His agenda for us that involves real life-saving opportunities for those around us.

If that isn't enough, God also has given a YEAR of rest for the land. He calls it a Sabbath Year, whereby several rules of rest are to be observed.

Now have you noticed? God gives us all these different 'pause periods' not to put our minds and spiritual growth on a shelf. He knows we humans need to take a special breather in thought and praise.

Ex-Teens Breather in Thought & Praise

During one of the days in the life of one of my children, when they thought their world was crumbling on top of them, we took a ride. Not far from our home, back then, was a river with a man-made waterfall. The view was a great place for a picnic. But today was definitely not a time for a picnic.
After we got out of the car, but leaned against it, I said, “Let's just take a few quiet moments, take a couple long deep breaths, and learn from what we are looking at right now.”

My teen's first response evidenced an inner earthquake caused by a broken love relationship.
I asked, “Which direction is the river flowing?” I got an appraising look that maybe I was off my rocker. “No. Listen. This is very important. Which way is the river flowing?” Hand gestures to me said the river was flowing from our left to our right. I looked my teen right in the eye and asked, “Will it ever go the other way?”

With a bit more inner calm, my teen said, “Never.” “OK. I agree. Now just suppose there was a super bad earthquake where some buildings came tumbling down and that dam over there got all broken up and some of it sank to the bottom of the river. Which way would the river then be flowing?” With another long deep breath, my teen said, “It wouldn't change. The river will still be flowing in the same direction it does now.”

Facing my teen and with good eye contact, I summarized by asking, “Now let me get this straight. You've just told me that no matter what happens to stuff that we humans build, like that dam over there, God's laws are still going to be obeyed; that water is still going to keep on going down hill. Is that what you've just told me?” My teen, now with head bowed, and moving a pebble with a shoe, took another long deep breath, and softly answered, “Yes. God is still in control.”

I put my arm around my teen and said, “You know, God can do so much with water. I mean He can walk on it, He can call it out of a solid rock, He can make it stand still and let those He loves walk through to places He has given them. And then God can use water to swallow up evil people. God does many mighty things with water, back in Bible times, but also today too.”

With an extra hug, I said, “Just like God uses water to do mighty things for Him, He wants me and He wants you to do mighty things for Him. And it's just like God to wrap all His actions for us in love. God does so many things with water – as powerful as it is, but love is even more powerful. God has given us a heart for love; to accept love and to give love.”

“The problem is that you and I act too much like that river over there. We don't seem to find the time to stop. We don't look for a calm quiet pool we can take a big breather and see what God has put around us.” To my teen, I said, there's a really famous Bible verse that a giant-killer shepherd boy talks about being 'lead by still waters'.”

Whether we're an ex-teen on a frantic out-of-control journey downhill, or a silver-haired person with great compassion for youth, we must often, drop anchor, find calm waters, and see where God has brought us; we need to get our bearings. Only when we find where we're at, and clearly see that our Loving God, 'that first loved us', wants to be at the very top on our list of loves. That established at the top of our agenda every day, can we then decide how and where we'll proceed; obeying His laws; His laws of love.