A young boy named Reese came to stay with us this past week. He was/is your typical boy, at least nowadays. He came armed to the hilt with stuff. He brought his X-Box Live, his I-Pod, his Rockstar gaming equipment (two guitars, drum set and microphone), he had golf clubs with him, his trumpet (which he didn’t play) and a slue of other things that for all intensive purposes have become what he and many of us have come to call our passtime. Reese is 11 and full of imagination…all the depths and nooks a young boy created in the image of God is made with…
Reese is interesting in that he spoke of fishing, and hiking, and tennis and biking…many things that by default act counter to spending hours on end in front of a tv watching dvd’s, or gaming away the day while the sky outside goes from light to dark without him even noticing. I heard in his very young voice a tension between his wild and what has become his domesticated self…an all too familiar yarn that defines young boys today (and older ones for that matter too).
It’s not that in this weekend I surmised that Reese needed to be fishing and hiking or even outdoors for that matter to not be wasting his days. No, this weekend instead yielded a much deeper understanding of just how the world is at war for our affection…and so too is God. For a short while Reese stowed his typical ideas of entertainment, all that he had come to covet and seek out day in and day out, and wouldn’t you know it…one of God’s simple little watering holes put more satisfaction and fulfilled deep breathing running in and through that boy that any game he had played up to that point in his life.
Now, while Reese is not a believer and I wouldn’t hold him to a deeper, spiritual evaluation of his free time (although I did ask him about that), I would challenge believers to consider with all their heart how they spend their days…for even time spent doing recreation is vain if not done unto the Lord. That line between relaxing and resting and simply being selfish and retreating into one’s own pleasures is a tough one to navigate to say the least. Many of us however navigate this line by indifference…we think we are entitled to good things, time away, relaxation, etc. That’s simply never going to be true. We are often blessed with such opportunities by our Lord, even if we never blame Him for such wonderful retreats…but… we are never entitled to such things.
Having a Theology of Entitlement leads to all sorts of travesty as we look upon not so much God, but the God we create…one who scratches our back…because we deserve it. He does indeed protect His children, inciting even death and turmoil to defend His beloved…but that’s what makes Him so very special…we don’t deserve Him or such a rescuing, or even a re-rescuing for that matter, as we’re often having to be renewed daily in our relationship with Him…and yet there He is, always. We on the other hand forget the Kingdom as though it were the car keys at times.
Reese did not deserve to such a blessing as his tryst with the lake, but all the same it came and found him. It called his name and wrapped its playful watery arms around him tight and spent a long afternoon for the ages. I will hopefully forever remember how God took all the allure that culture had imbedded deep into that little boy’s heart and pitted a simple watering hole against such intimacy…all to bid for his attention. God did this and won his whole heart without even trying it seemed. Reese had no I-Pod filling his ears, no dvd’s to light up his eyes, and not X-Box to fill his hours upon hours. All Reese had was 75 degree, sun-kissed water filled with catfish, turtles and a current that carried him around like he were a perfect melody beneath the sky.
Over and over he played… haul up anchor from bottom of lake…jump off the tube with anchor in hand… sink 20 quick feet or so…re-surface… gasp for air…laugh deeply…half swim, half bob way back to tube with anchor… drop anchor…climb atop tube…haul anchor up…repeat adventure!
I find it hard to believe that we would think we deserve anything in this life…we tainted Eden…and even if you think you wouldn’t have done the same thing, your fallenness speaks for you…you most certainly would have, that is provided you would have even had the guts to get into such blatant and voiced opposition and trouble veering from God’s already given instructions. Many of us I wager would have stood back and acted the silent accomplice to the Eden-treason, watching in curiousity as Adam and Eve collectively tossed away forever for but one trusted moment with a competing voice of so-called Truth. We tolerated a mutinous voice just long enough to let is lip past hearing and slither into considering…and before we knew it, our befallen hearts gave way to hand gestures and shoulder turns that set into motion our King’s deepest heart-break.
I submit, in my deepest moments of struggle with sin…I would not have been the one to taste from the tree that God said not to eat of…I would have been the one doing the enticing.
I thank God for His beautiful story He set before my eyes this past week…for a boy very aquainted with the world and its long arm of entertainment, completely abandoned its all too familiar inveigle, even if only for a few moments, and was subdued by nothing more and nothing less than a God-intended rendezvous… between a boy and a lake.