Custom Made Kid™
I don't know about you but, as hard as it is sometimes, I'm glad that our God is not in the business of saying "yes" just to say "yes". I imagine Him as that steady, loving parent who knows what we need or what we don't even if we think we know better.
He isn't about earning our favor and I definitely don't believe He is worried about conceding victory to us just to make us feel good. I can’t even begin to tell you number of times I’ve prayed to God with a certain agenda or ending in mind. So many times I thought I knew what was right – only to realize later how thankful I am that God didn’t choose to do things the way I originally wanted Him to. His ways are just better.
There are some things I'm learning or realizing about prayer these days relative to this:
a. Be ok to wait for His "best yes". Because, I mean, there is yes. And then there is the YESSIR, praise the Lord, hall-e-lu-yuh Yes. The one that you'll thank Him for, ohhhh, an eternity for.
b. Assume His "no" is due to His Kindness somehow. Because why else would He say that? He's our Father, our Savior and our friend. Any other reason doesn't match up with who He says He is.
c. If He says, "Not yet", try reaaaaaallllly hard to be patient. Simply make yourself revert back to knowing an "a" or "b" is on its way.
The good news to me is that, even in the hard times, He is about showing us who He really is and about doing what is right for us, even if it risks that we misunderstand Him and His intentions in the process. Sometimes, we pray to the point where there is no "heat" behind our words. Sometimes we pray until there literally are no words left. Just whispers. Maybe even just groanings.
But the key is, keep praying…He will answer. He promises.
1. Politics - which I don't care to talk about. Not because I don't think it's important but because rarely does argumentative discussion result in one side changing their mind. It's more often polarizing.
2. Religion (Faith) - which I do care to talk about. I talk about the "faith" subject matter without the expectation that my views have to become anyone else's views. For me, it all boils down to the fact that I don't know how - when you reeeeally love something - you can keep totally silent about it. Most people can't help but talk about what they love. Simply, my Faith has helped me to make sense out of difficult circumstances and gives me hope for each new day.
3. Race - which can be difficult but is also necessary to talk about.
You see, if I pretend I don't see color at all, that's not true. I am aware of the color of another person's skin the same way I might note the color of someone's eyes or their hair or the color of their shirt. Right or wrong, if I say I am color "blind", then I feel like (in a way) I'm not seeing the person's history or culture or acknowledging their unique beauty. And I don't want to overlook "you" whoever "you" might be and whatever shade of color your skin might be.
My five year old daughter and I had a pretty intense discussion recently when she saw someone with a very obvious physical disability. Her first question to me was why that person was so, in her word, "different". The only answer I could come up with on short notice was that God is a creative God. He made people in all shapes and colors and sizes.
As she was considering my statement, I asked her a simple question: "What if you woke up one morning and everything was gray? The sky wasn't blue, the trees and the grass weren't green, the flowers weren't pink and yellow and red? It was all just...gray." Her response was perfect. Or at least what I'd hoped it would be:
"Dat" she says, with horror on her little face, "would be terrible!"
"That's right." I confirmed. "It would be. And so boring." Her little head nodded her agreement. And that was enough of an answer for her.
Not too long after this conversation, we ran into someone else who looked what the world would call "different" from us. And in a five year old version of a whisper (which basically means yelling), she said, "Dat person is different and dats ok! God made him wike dat!" Yep. Good news. The message had been received.
In the Custom Made Kid™ book, one of the pages says:
"It doesn't matter what we look like,
how we talk,
or the color of our skin.
What matters to our good, good God
is always found WITHIN."
The intended message: God looks at our hearts. He doesn't see what we see. Also, maybe more importantly, He's looking within at our *true* intentions. We may say one thing with our mouths but our words, behavior, and the way we treat others is a direct outpouring of the beliefs we hold close to our hearts.
"Create in me a pure heart, Oh God. Renew a *right* Spirit in me." <------- that scripture is beautiful. Bottom line, give me the ability to have a pure heart in the first place. Second, when I get off track help me fix it. And we will - all of us - get off track at times.
There are some unfortunate events happening in the US presently that prove people's hearts are off track. And as the founder of Custom Made Kid™, I have a little bit to say about those events:
Let it be known...I am ashamed of those who share my skin color and look down upon another for the color of theirs.
Let it be known...I am deeply offended by the behavior I'm seeing in Charlottesville - both for myself and for those these supremacists are looking down upon.
Let it be known...I think Tolerance is a dangerous word. There are boundaries and norms that society has to have in place to function in a healthy and "whole" manner. And sometimes that fine line gets really "gray" or fudged or is just plain dangerous. How on earth do I truly stand for what I believe in life and, at the same time, offend no one? That's almost a literal impossibility.
Let it be known...I acknowledge my boundaries and norms may not be the same as the boundaries and norms as others but opinions and actions rooted in superiority, bigotry, perversion and hate aren't acceptable.
Let it be known...I believe in the right to have an opinion and to take a stand for what you believe...but not at (NEVER at) the expense of another's value or safety or well-being.
"I am great. You are less."
"You are great. I am less."
Neither scenario works. In the words of Al Mohler, "The separation of human beings into ranks of superiority and inferiority differentiated by skin color is a *direct assault* upon the doctrine of Creation and an insult to the Imago Dei - the image of God - in which every human being is made."
Let it be known...I am sorry. I am sorry for those who I appear similar to who behave in a way that wounds another human being created in the image of God. I am sorry for past wrongs and, in advance, I'm sorry for future wrongs.
And finally, let it be known...I believe EACH and EVERY person in this world was created by God to have inherent value. I hope one day we can all learn to see each other the way He so clearly sees and, more importantly, loves us.
We are Custom Made.