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An Invitation to Reflect

Yesterday, sweet Chad found himself in time out for a few minutes during dinner. It had been a really fun, highly active day following a really fun, highly active weekend and a bit of short circuiting was beginning to take place. It wasn’t the worst of our moments, those flashes in time when a child’s behavior helps you see how easy it would be to become “that mom on the news.” Thankfully, at least for this time, it was the somewhat milder issue of attitude showing up in a bit of beligerance and sassiness. (Not to be confused, however, with the awesome kind of being “sassy” nor our beloved “Sassy.”)

After giving him a few minutes to chill out, I asked him if he knew why he was there. “Because I was bad.” Hmmm, no, not exactly. I kept trying it from different angles, with equally poor results. Finally, I just had to explain it to him. His ability to reflect, to look at what he has said or done as an overflow of what he is feeling and to see what he is feeling as an indication of what is happing in his heart is obviously not developed at the age of four. The problem is, many of us haven’t developed this ability at 34 or 44 or 74.

After Adam and Eve had disobeyed, God asked, “Where are you?” I think, honestly, I had read this like He was some clueless old man who’d gone to the kitchen to get hot chocolate for his grandkids and returned to an empty room. “Hey guys I’ve got the drinks! Guys? Guys? Hey guys, come on, where are you?” Do we really think God is not very good at Hide ‘n’ Seek? He isn’t collecting information that He didn’t have before, He is drawing His children out from hiding and into Himself, helping them to reflect, acknowledge and see what they haven’t yet.

“Who is this who obscures my counsel with words witout knowledge?” “Why are you downcast o my soul?” “Why are you crying?” “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!” “Who do you say that I am?” In each case, the questions were looking past the circumstance to the heart. In almost every case, the reflection requires the “Who do you think you are?” asked to Job and “Who do you say that I am?” about Jesus. The reflection will always show where my heart is off in my belief and assumptions about both.

Ellie periodically has to take these bench mark tests at school that she really doesn’t enjoy. We have been trying to help her see that how she does on them is not so much the point. They are there to help her see what she has learned and what she still has to learn. If she knew everything, she would have no need to be in school. The tests, like a blood iron test, are diagnostic. These are the questions a good Father asks His children, whether walking on the beach or sitting in time out. He already knows the answers, but He wants them to see more of what is true about their own hearts and then more of what is actually true about His. Unbelief is always exposed. Relief and renewed life is always provided in it’s place.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

He invites me to reflect, to see my offensive ways and anxious thoughts, to slowly have them replaced by His heart, His ways and His own self.

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