Friday, January 28, 2011

the most extraordinary things seem to have come over the household.

“Don’t you babysit every afternoon? What are your kids like?”

That’s one of my favorite questions. My time is split between two families: one with little boys and one with older girls. Are there ANY words in the English language that overlap to describe both groups?

The first house. The bus arrives and drops off C2, a 4th grader who takes his time getting to the door because every leaf which lines the path must be annihilated. He walks past me without a word, wanders to the pantry, flips on his X-Box. I ask if he has homework and get a grunt. I turn around to close the front door, turn around again, and he has disappeared. I call out his name and ask about his day, and all of a sudden, sixty pounds of spunk fly at my waist and shove me into the couch.

The second house. My keys twist around my palm as my fingers feel for the correct size and shape that fits this door. Right as the key slides into the hole, the door flies open and a happy 6th grade girl greets me with a smile and several hundred stories. Before I’ve turned around to close the front door, I know what happened during her day, what happened during her yesterday, what happened during her yesterday’s yesterday, what she plans for tomorrow, what makes her happy, what makes her sad, what she has to do for homework, what the guy on her bus two rows back and one over said about her neighbor’s best friend’s friend, and how upsetting it was when her teacher talked to her new best friend’s old best friend and asked if her new best friend’s feeling better. (She’s not.)

She tells me about her classes and her teachers and her friends and her friends’ parents and her sister and her parents and her parents’ parents. She analyzes the complexity of each relationship with the insight of someone much older than her twelve years, and I sit on her kitchen counter and wonder if she’s been reading parenting books again. She talks about the arguments she’s recently had with her sister and her parents and worries about the quiet kid who’s ignored by the (air quotes) popular crowd. She says she wants to be nice to everyone, but sometimes she just gets annoyed by the girl who is always trying to steal her position as first chair bassoon player.

She takes a breath.

She wonders what Jesus was like as a teenager. Jesus, who was the earthly son of two parents that definitely did not understand Him. Jesus, who was fully God but also a human pre-teen at some point. Jesus, who must have been tempted to throw the fact that His parents were imperfect in their faces. Jesus, who must have been tempted to question His parents' judgment and rebel against their authority. Jesus, who must have been tempted to roll His eyes and ignore their requests. Jesus, who must have been tempted to complain about His parents to His friends and dishonor them by mocking them behind their backs. Jesus, who must have been tempted to return to heaven and escape the discomfort of a cramped home owned by people who were not well-off. Jesus, who must have been tempted to be annoyed, cold, lazy, discontent, grumpy, jealous, proud, insecure, unsympathetic, and on and on and on and on. Jesus, who must have been tempted to fight with brothers and sisters that did not believe in Him. (Can you imagine what THAT would be like? Literally eating breakfast with the Son of God?)

But He didn’t sin. Not once. His family did. But He did not.

He lived in submission to His parents and His teachers and every other human authority over Him. “It would have been easy for Him to just walk away from it all.

“But He didn’t.

“While Christ was on earth, at any time He could have returned to heaven and resumed the throne and His rule as part of the Godhead. He never ceased being God. He only laid aside His powers. It was a choice He made to submit Himself to the Father and live in total obedience. In John’s Gospel, He says, ‘I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again’ (John 10:17-18).

“Jesus could have said, ‘I’m stopping this whole thing and going back to heaven. I can’t continue to live under these people and their decisions.’” (K.P. Yohannan)

But He didn’t.

And a really cool part (for us imperfect people who struggle with submission), Jesus “humbled himself by [becoming] obedient to the point of death.” (Philippians 2:8) Jesus didn't die on the cross until He was 33. Year by year, day by day, hour by hour He humbled Himself in obedience to God, His Father. In every choice and thought and action, He surrendered His will to His Father's, until He was finally obedient to the point of death at age 33.

It's not supposed to be a snap-deal. What. A. Relief. In Jesus' life, He matured over time. As our own relationships with God progress, we become more obedient; we surrender our desires and emotions and longings to Him. One moment at a time. We trade what we want for what God wants and are thus obedient to HIS will. We start to exchange our fame for His: it's why we were made. Our lives proclaim the glory of God and the glory of the cross of Christ.

Jesus, the more I think about Your life, the more blown away I am by who You are. You hold the entire universe together, and You personally understand everything we go through. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 14:15) As we go through the normal routines of life and chatter away about what we consider important, please put Yourself at the forefront of our minds and hearts and conversations. Let us not forget what Your life means for us. Lead us, Lord. Let our lives also be marked by utter obedience to God. Lord, we need You. Not only are You the perfect example of how to live, but You are our Savior who we can’t live without. Thank You for your guidance, Your mercy, Your patience…. And thank You for your grace; it truly is all-sufficient. We love you, Jesus. We are not unaware of your greatness.

Jesus, “...though [You] were in the form of God, [You] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made [Yourself] nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, [You] humbled [Yourself] by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted [You] and bestowed on [You] the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)


ADDENDUM handmade said...

I just love your narrative style of writing. :) And I love what you write about... Seriously, your blog has been so encouraging to me. And I just wanted to tell you that.


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