Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Just Like the Air...

We had the craziest Sunday. We missed church in the morning due to a random series of events. We planned on going to night church, then missed that, due to more randomness. The whole day was just weird in general. We decided our Sunday just could not end like that, so we planned on making it a Family Fun Night, themed around an object lesson for the kids (and us). We headed to Perkins for some shakes and appetizers (we'd already eaten dinner, you know, since we thought we were going to be at church). En route we picked up a special surprise for later.

The big surprise?? BALLOON ANIMALS! (Yes, among his myriad attributes, my husband
is an excellent balloon animal maker. He also does flowers, and weaponry- see Lily holding a sword? He's available for parties- contact me to book one.)

She's such a girl. She has no idea how to hold a sword.

Our object lesson (inspired by Focus on the Family) was about the existence of God. How do we know He exists, if we can't see Him? We first talked about air, which the girls know all about (thank you, Elmo). They were full of examples of what air can do- it blows the leaves around in the wind, you can blow out your birthday candles with air, you can also blow up a balloon with air. You can't see the air, but you feel it leave your lungs and see it fill up the balloon. We can't see it, but it sure is there.

Our air talk went on (in terms the kids could understand) something like this: We can hear the air. We can feel it. We can see it moving things. We need it every moment, because it is essential to life. And so it is with God. We can't see Him, but His presence is undeniable, our need for Him is absolute.

I was very impressed with their answers when we first asked them how they know God is here with us if they can't see Him (before we explained everything). Their faith is so solid- "He's here because He talks to us and we talk to Him." "He's right here in my heart!" "He gives us things we need." My favorite was one of Patie's comments, "He just is." That is pretty much exactly right. She wasn't giving an easy answer, it was said like it made real sense to her. Of course He's always here- just because He is. Like, that's all she seemed to need to know.

Since Sunday night, Grace and Patie have brought the air analogy up a couple of times- as we watched the wind swirl snowflakes through the air yesterday morning, and in their devotional this morning. It centered around a verse in Genesis, "I will be with you and watch over you wherever you go." We talked about when they're feeling alone all they need to do is breathe in deep and remember that just like the air is all around them even though they can't see it, they know God is right there with them too, even when they feel all alone (like during their nap time). They easily remembered the key phrase we taught them to help them remember the object lesson: Just like the air, God is there. Amen!
While we were sitting in Perkins, a priest walked in with a high school boy and they sat down behind me. It was one of those times you don't want to be an eavesdropper, but it's impossible not to hear what the people next to you are saying. I didn't catch it all , of course, but basically he was having doubts about his faith and questioning everything. (Amen for questioning what he believes! It can be the first step to making your faith your own and becoming cemented in the Truth for the rest of your life.) He was questioning what he'd always been told about faith, Catholicism, etc, and was wondering about looking into other religions, or if God mattered at all. He sounded really intelligent, thoughtful, just a great kid in general- he had a good head on his shoulders and didn't look more than 15. The priest seemed to have an answer for everything, but I don't know for sure if the boy ended up more confused than when he started. I only caught snippets of the conversation, obviously, but I prayed several times in Jesus' name that this boy's search would lead him right to the heart of God. I couldn't help but think about the truth we would be trying to pass on to our girls later that night, and how really it was at the core of what this young man was struggling with. How do we know what truth is? Where did we come from? Why should it matter what we believe, and if there is a heaven, why should there only be one way to get there? Is there really a god in charge of all this? Is there really only one of them? How can I be sure? The search for those answers really does lie in first seeing that God is real. He is right here with you, you absolutely rely on Him for every breath you take whether you know it or not, and His evidence is everywhere. He is always listening, He loves you unconditionally, and He wants very much for you to think about Him, wonder about Him, talk to Him and ask Him questions- and for you to hear His voice. Then the answers to all those other (very good) questions will begin to fall into place.

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