A couple of years ago I was with my family and we were spending some time in this cabin in the woods on the edge of this remote lake. I mean we were deep, in the middle of nowhere. And one morning my son Trace and I we woke up and set out to take a walk around the lake. It was one of those mornings like not a cloud in the sky, and the birds are singing and my son Trace, he's about a little over a year old at the time. And so he's making all these little chirps and squawks that one year old boys make, and I had him in one of those hiking backpacks where he rode back here so as I walk along I can here him making all his noises. So we head out through the woods to walk around the lake.
And it's just one of those, you ever have those moments, like if you could just freeze them, its' just so beautiful. And we get to the other side of the lake and we're exactly at the half way point we're the farthest possible point from the cabin and we're rounding the bend to head back and I look up and I notice clouds. And then it starts to rain. It always rains, doesn't it? It's interesting, because the scriptures say all sorts of things about rain and storms. When Jesus was teaching about what it means to live like the fullness of life in his kingdom, when Jesus speaks of it He speaks of two different people. He speaks of a person who builds their house on sand, someone who chooses to reject His teachings, and someone who builds their life, their house, on rock. Who chooses to build their life on Jesus's teachings. And then the metaphor He uses is that of a storm that comes, and the person who rejects His teachings and His truth, essentially the house built on sand just gets destroyed but the house thats built on rock stands. So this idea Jesus says when the rains come, it's not like they might, they do. It rains, in our lives, a lot.
At first, there's a drop here and a drop there and so I put Trace's hood over his head. But what I didn't know is that he pulled it off and so gradually the drops they get bigger and bigger and they fall faster and faster and in no time it is pouring. I mean the kind of rain that just soaks, it plasters your hair against your head (3:14) and the kind that just drenches your clothing and at first Trace the thunder and lightning he's ok but as it picks up and it gets louder and louder and the wind becomes more intense and the trees start to shake Trace becomes more and more agitated, I can feel him like on my back. At first he starts to whimper and then he lets out kinda a little shout here and there but in no time Trace is shrieking at the top of his lungs. I mean the wind is blowing there is thunder and lightning and we are just getting plastered with this heavy rain. The trees are no longer providing any shelter and Trace, just from like deep in his being starts to yell and cry so loudly and with such passion and terror in his voice.
It's interesting, cause if you look at the word cry and you search the scriptures you find this word comes up over and over again. Like even in the book of psalms, just the book of psalms, if you like start reading through, it speaks over and over and over again of crying. Of crying out to God, and God says these amazing things, like He says "When you cry out to me, I listen." He even says "I cannot ignore the cry of somebody who is afflicted", it's like if I'm hurting, lost, soaking wet, scared, and confused, God says "you cry out, and I hear." God even says that when you cry, He's close to the broken hearted. He's close to those who cry out, admit they're scared, lost, soaking wet, and confused.
See there is this false, twisted idea out there among religious people that somehow you gotta have it all together to have a relationship with God. That like somehow, God's only looking for people who have no problems and have it all nailed down and can put on like the happy face all the time and yet the scriptures speak directly against this kind of thinking. I mean Jesus is even just straight ahead when He says "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden". I mean the essence of salvation is crying out to God and admitting I dont have it all together. Its admitting I am lost, I am hurting, and this sinful nature that I carry around with me has really screwed things up for me, and God if you don't show me the way home, if you don't fix things, if you don't step in, I am dying here. And this church, this kind of thinking is all throughout the scriptures, over and over again, God says to us, "When you come to me, you come to me with all your junk, you come to me with your problems, come to me all screwed up, all messed up. Let me take care of it." Jesus, even sets out looking for people, even says this, He says "I'm not looking for the healthy, I came for the sick
It's interesting if you think about the storm from Trace's perspective. For Trace, the storm is his reality, he sees nothing else, the lightning, the thunder, the trees swaying (6:19) and the raindrops and the water just dripping off him. It's all he knows. He sees no reality beyond the storm. What Trace doesn't realize is that as his dad, I would do anything to get him home. So at this point Trace is shrieking at the top of his lungs in stereo right behind my head. And I stop, and I kneel down and I take him out of the pack and I pull him close to my chest and I wrap my arms around him and I hold him so tightly up against my heart. And for the last mile of our walk the entire time I bend over and I whisper into his ear over and over again "I love you buddy we're gonna make it Dad knows the way home we're gonna make it I love you buddy" and over and over and over again. Through the storm I carry him home clutched tightly against my chest whispering "I love you buddy, we're gonna make it". Now imagine if like years later Trace is in therapy or something and he drags up this repressed memory of "the walk" and he comes to me and he's like "Dad, why'd you let me go through that for? I got all this junk inside me, what did you ... I thought you loved me how could you expose me to something that horrible that storm I mean why didn't you protect me?" I would be crushed, because for me that walk was one of my deepest, most intimate memories of my life with my son. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything! Maybe you're bitter or you've got all this anger inside because of some things you've been through some storms in your life and you're wondering if you really loved me, if God really was there He wouldn't of let me go through that, and maybe God is saying "No why don't you understand I got to hold you tight I got to remind you over and over again "I love you buddy".
As it says in the scriptures the book of Deuteronomy chapter 1 God's reminding his people of how good He's been to them. He says "remember, I carried you like a father carries a son." And now, may you when you're soaking wet, lost, hurting and confused, may you cry out, and may the creator of the universe take you out of your pack, may he hold you tight up against his chest, may he wrap his eternal loving arms around you and may you hear Him whisper "I love you buddy, we're gonna make it, Dad knows the way home, we're gonna make it, I love you".--- Transcribed by R.M. Flight
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