Friday, April 24, 2009
My son in college called me this morning at 2 a.m. to discuss what he considers to be the "corrosive environment" in our home -- by which he meant, corrosive to one's Christianity. Bless his pointy little head.
He wasn't angry or condemning or even emotional, just concerned. "I don't know, Mom. I can't put my finger on it, but something isn't right there," he said.
Well, it is definitely a nuanced situation, as is any when dealing with veteran sinners, such as we are. Nuances aside, however, there are interesting observations to make as to why he would think such a thing.
He grew up in a home with a mom fairly consumed with, of all things, children and housework: laundry, food, homeschooling, cleaning (okay, not so much), baseball, hockey, piano lessons…the list goes on and on. And a dad fairly consumed with earning enough money to keep this enormous ship afloat. Door-to-door evangelism and all-night prayer vigils have a way of falling by the wayside in the face of such prosaic realities.
Regular church attendance, Sunday school, VBS, Bible studies and prayer also figured into the equation. But the vibrancy, the energy, the fervor for the Lord that he has experienced through his campus Christian fellowship in this, his freshman year of college, make his childhood experience with Christianity seem insipid. I get that.
So, I might try to make the case that we're talking completely different venues here. Right now he's privileged to be laying a strong foundation of faith in a veritable Christian greenhouse. Eventually, just like his dad and I did, he will leave the greenhouse and test his faith in the harsher climate of real life. There the true nature of his profession of Christ will be laid bare. When real things hurt, and there is no solace except in Christ. When real fear attacks, and there is no hope except in Christ. When fatigue sets in, when patience wears thin, when disappointment overwhelms, when circumstances bewilder, when life grates and grinds on unceasingly, year after exhausting year. When no one is looking and no one cares, how will his heart answer then? Will he keep Christ on the throne then, or will he turn to worldly comforts and distractions? Only at that point will he know the real strength of his convictions, no matter how immovable they seem right now.
Yes, we're talking completely different venues. I could try to make that case, but let's be fair. He doesn't really have a pointy head, after all. He knows the score, more than ever now that he has immersed himself in the heady world of serious Christian discipleship. So today the question before my husband and me is what should our response to him be.
We have a lot we could defend. After all, we did raise him, and the love for the Lord he is cultivating even now did not emerge in a vacuum. We could find a lot to say about the wisdom of our decisions regarding our children's fledgling beliefs in God, our keen intuition about the best environments for their Christian growth.
But I don't think those would be the best responses. The best response when he comes home for the summer is going to be to listen carefully to what he has to say, and then to humbly examine our hearts and our lives to see where we have drifted away from the pure love of Christ. Where are we seeking something other than God's Kingdom? What worldly habits and values have crept into our lives? Have we forgotten the joy of intimacy with our Savior? Are we dying to ourselves for His glory – or have we grown bored with that and sought out diversions? Are we ready for His return -- do we have "oil in our lamps?"
It could be a long summer. Bless his pointy little head.