Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”
It was a Sunday and we were on our way home from church. It’s a good thirty-minute drive through farmland past hay bales and cows and horses to which the kids yell out “cow!” and “horse!” every single time, despite the fact that this is not a rare thing. We were talking about God and what they thought He looked like (like their daddy apparently, which is kind of sweet and metaphorical at the same time) and then we were talking about what they thought Jesus liked…definitely kids and hiking and hummus, but not olives. He probably also liked telling jokes and was friends with all the bugs except spiders.
Kids are great at filling in the details. They’re great at imagining a God who laughs at Jesus while He tells a joke and all the quirks that make Him three-dimensional. They are so much better than I am at making Him real.
And this, I think, is why Jesus said to look to the little children for faith.
I pray every day. I pray over the sink, under my breath when traffic is terrible, in bed at night. But I’m honestly not sure what I picture when I try to picture God. When I think of His personality traits, I picture the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.) dancing around like Schoolhouse Rock characters. But I still don’t have a picture to make Him real. When I think of God in the Old Testament, I picture Charlton Heston. And when I try to picture Him in the early days, walking through the garden in the shade on the lookout for Adam, I just see wind in the trees.
But I like how my kids see Him. I like how He is so fully-formed. I know most of their attributes for Him are themselves personified and not very biblical. But I like that He’s not a picture on a wall, not a flat character. Maybe He does like hummus and not olives.
I’m asking God to fill out a little bit more for me. I’m asking Him to color in the picture I have of Him so I can better live like I might very well run in to Him in the cool of the day. The clearer He gets, the harder He is to avoid.
C. S. Lewis once wrote,
“So go on! You are on the right track now: getting to the real Man behind all the plaster dolls that have been substituted for Him. This is the appearance in Human form of the God who made the Tiger and the Lamb, the avalanche and the rose. He’ll frighten and puzzle you: but the real Christ can be loved and admired as the doll can’t.
I’m aiming for God, not a doll. I’m aiming for reality, not illusion. I’m aiming for every true thing I can tack on to His nature so that He stops looking like a watercolor picture in my mind. I’m not going to lie and tell you this isn’t a little intimidating. It’s like the “your will be done” part of the Lord’s Prayer. You say it, but you always hope it will swing in your favor. Here’s to hoping I’ll see God walk out of the avalanches and the roses.
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
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A big thank you from Jamie on The Mom Gene!