A popular song that made a big impression on me as a teenager seemed to be a prayer. I say “seemed” because the song didn’t mention God or prayer. It also didn’t sound like any religious music I’d ever heard. The lyrics were deceptively simple—big truths about character and success in life expressed humbly and winsomely. I wanted to be like that, I remember thinking. It was the best sermon I’d ever heard.
Every so often we read or hear about some happening that defies reason, like this personal account by Activated correspondent Misty Kay in Taiwan:
A stray dog moved into the Smiths’ neighborhood the same day the Joneses moved in next door, and the dog immediately began to wreak havoc, scrounging in trashcans and tearing up flowerbeds in both yards. The Smiths were irked that the Joneses had brought such a nuisance into the neighborhood, and the Joneses found it inexcusable that the Smiths made no attempt to control their dog. For several weeks neither couple said anything to the other, while bad feelings festered on both sides. Finally Ms. Smith could stand no more and gave Ms. Jones a piece of her mind. “Oh,” Ms. Jones replied, “we thought it was your dog!”
Odd, isn’t it, how our perceptions change as we age. When I was very small, my brother, who was all of 18 months older, defined “big.” When I was in 1st grade, I thought 4th graders were a higher life form, but by the 6th grade I was old enough and wise enough to realize that the new batch of 4th graders were in fact little kids.
My parents surely knew everything there was to know until I was a teenager, when they became clueless practically overnight. I could never imagine them as children, but now it’s hard to believe that my own children are parents. My grandparents always seemed old, but now I’m a grandparent myself, and I don’t feel old at all. Why should I? My mother-in-law doesn’t look or act old to me, and she has great-grandchildren. Age, I’m finding out, is more an attitude than a matter of years.
We’ve all seen cartoons of a person at a point of decision, with a guardian angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other, each trying to persuade the person to do or not do this or that. The message is simple, clear, and often amusing, but what few people seem to realize is that there is also a lot of truth to those cartoons.
Growing up, the last thing I expected to become was an editor. For starters, I was a miserable student—“miserable” in both senses of the word. From almost the first day of first grade, I struggled to keep up with the class, and language was never one of my better subjects—at least not until tenth grade. The difference-maker then was my dad.
He had been an Army war correspondent during WWII and then a newspaper reporter for several years. He had changed careers in order to better support his growing family, but journalism was in his bones. When he offered to type one of my handwritten tenth grade papers and saw how utterly clueless I was about writing, he clicked into gear. And when he explained what needed fixing and why, things started clicking for me.
If we haven’t lived the drama, we’ve seen it depicted in movies and on TV. The patient in the intensive care unit hovers between life and death while anxious family and friends fidget and pace in the waiting room and hallway, praying for the best, preparing for the worst, scanning the faces of the doctors and nurses as they shuffle in and out of the ICU, and hanging onto their every guarded word. Will the patient survive? If so, will there be permanent damage? Will life ever be the same?
Can you imagine really caring about someone—your spouse, your best friend, your child—and never talking with him or her? Of course not. Love is built on communication, and so are all of the most important relationships we are blessed with.
So if Jesus wants to be both Husband and best Friend to us, as the Bible says, and if God is our heavenly Father, then isn’t it only logical that They would want to talk to us? (Romans 7:4; Proverbs 18:24)