Commonsense Christianity

None of our adult children is confused about Santa Claus and Jesus Christ. The wonder and joy children find in the first, is a reflection of the reality that we find, throughout our lives, in the second. An Unforeseen Encounter, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; signed limited edition print and open edition poster.

Full disclosure: we do Easter egg hunts. But then again, we also do Halloween and Santa, and have been remarkably able to separate these particular family traditions from our theological viewpoints.

As Christians, it’s important to not only talk, and talk, and talk about our freedom in Christ, but to actually experiment with living it and see how it unfolds. For us, this means that we skip the Sunrise Service (actually, since we liberated ourselves from mandatory church attendance, we skip the whole day’s official religious activities altogether), and focus on the family.

And the big event we enjoy is the Easter Egg Hunt.

From Youngest to Oldest

Now nobody is exempt from the Easter Egg Hunt, from the youngest child to the oldest patriarch. One by one, the selected hunter stays inside while everyone else heads outside to hide the plastic eggs. (Egg filling is customized: the Son and Heir requests dried fruits; the females of the herd prefer high-end chocolate; the Norwegian Artist accepts a combination. Everyone would like gold coins, but that hasn’t happened yet.)

The difficulty of the hiding places depends upon the age of the hunter:

With a two-year-old, we limit the search arena and pretty much drop the eggs on the ground, in plain sight.

An eight-year-old works harder, peeking behind trees and under chairs.

An adult — especially if that adult is the Norwegian Artist or the Son and Heir — may have to climb a tree, or crawl under bushes, or look inside irrigation pipes. Nothing comes easy, but what adult expects to be treated like a two-year-old?

A Customized Challenge

And therein lies the lesson of the Easter Egg Hunt: the older you are, the wiser you are, the more mature you are, the more challenging it is to fill your basket. When you are very young, very small, very fragile, it’s not difficult at all to find the eggs, and if you have trouble, there are plenty of assistants to guide you. But regardless of your age, you have Easter eggs, just for you.

So it is, quite frequently, in our spiritual lives: when we are seekers or new Christians, unsure of God other than knowing that He loves us, answers to prayers frequently seem to come faster than they do later, when we have learned more about God (one hopes) and have a greater experience of His goodness to fall back on.

God Knows How Old We Are

I was struck by this recently when I prayed for a young believer, damaged by life and harsh memories of religious censure. God, to her, is so intertwined with rigidity, sternness, and a cold, astringent approach to piety, that she has difficulty separating the two: God isn’t love; He’s a series of rules.

Waiting is an inevitable aspect of every human being’s existence. While no one enjoys the experience, the more we do it, the better we get at it, and the more time we reflect upon the Person we are waiting for. Lady in Waiting, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, my Norwegian Artist.

But she was desperate, distraught, discouraged, and despondent, and after listening to her hurt, I asked if I could pray. My thought on doing this, was this:

“God, You’d better follow through. Because she doesn’t really believe in or trust You.”

My second thought was,

“It shows the level of my disbelief and trust that I even said that. You can take care of Yourself, and I know that You’ll take care of her.”

He did. Within the week, two amazing, one unusual, and one challenging thing happened, but by golly, something happened, and the next time we spoke, my friend cautiously agreed that God didn’t hate her after all. She is depending upon Him to walk her through the challenging thing.

Wow. I Wish MY Prayer Were Answered That Fast!

Me? I’ve got a six-year-old prayer request that I keep bringing before God — in different ways as I learn more about Him — and little bits and pieces get answered here and there. It is no easy thing filling this particular basket, but each time I find an egg I learn more about finding the next.

Luke 2: 52 tells us that the boy Jesus,  “. . .  grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

So also, learning under Him and from Him, do we, and while we may wish that our prayers could be answered more quickly and readily (as they seem to be, when we make the mistake of looking around and comparing, with others), we learn patience. The very difficulty of it all is part of the growing process, and if we were still at the level of a two-year-old, then the eggs would be tossed at our feet.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child,” Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13: 11. “When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

God meets us where we are, and takes us beyond where we think can go.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage you to walk the specific path that God has put you on: it won’t look like my path, and it won’t take you to the same place. But we’re walking with the same Guide, and when we meet sometime, at an intersection, we can share lunch and talk about what we’ve learned.

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