My youngest son found a verse he liked in scripture yesterday. It was part of the sermon. I found myself trying to give him breif whispered answers to his questions, but also trying to not disrupt the sermon since we sit in the front row! We have had many discussions about God and love. This verse said "Perfect Love casts out Fear". He was very intriqued by that thought. You see to him, love and fear are all wrapped up together. To him, love is scary. Someone starts taking care of you, and you start to care about them and then they leave and it hurts. This happened over and over and over in his young life. He has many fears. He fears growing bigger and not being cute. Cute and small has been his identity, his trade, he has learned to use it. He is a very smart kid. He has looked around and realized that it doesn't work when you are bigger. He will have to find a new identity, and that is scary. What he is used to works for him and has been working for years. So this makes him afraid of growing, so he is afraid to eat. Part of him wants to grow and be big, but another part is afraid. So food has now become something scary because eating makes you grow. Love is scary cause you have to open yourself up. Trust is also scary. He also fears not being in control. He told me once he asked Jesus into his heart, but kicked him back out cause he was too bossy. Not sure about the theology there, but the kid was being honest about his feelings, so I will take it. The truth is, he is not in control of his life. He did not get to choose how many limbs to be born with, he did not get to choose where to be born, or to have parents. He did not get to choose to come to a new country and have to learn a whole new language and culture. He does not get a choice about when to go to bed or whether to go to school. There is really very little in his life he is in control of. However, it frightens him to not be in control, so he tries very hard to control what he can. He controls whether or not he eats and if he keeps the food down. He tries very hard to control the people around him. He has been practicing for a long time. He made a study of adults and sometimes he can control them. He learned how to trick people, he learned how to lie convincingly. He learned to watch adults carefully and know when they were watching and when they weren't. He learned to watch for subtle changes of expression that would tell him if what he was saying was pleasing them or not. He learned to carefully say things that would make them smile. He thinks he can fool all adults. This is not true of course, most adults can see what he is trying to do but ignore it. A few are fooled but they are not major players in his life, so really, fooling them gains him nothing.
I started thinking about how all of us respond to God. It's not so different you know. My son's problems were caused because the original plan, the way things are supposed to go for a baby got disrupted. When a baby is born, what is supposed to happen is there is supposed to be one person, usually the mother, who is the primary caregiver. This person is devoted to that baby. When baby is hungry this person feeds them, sometimes before the baby even has time to cry. When baby is wet, hot, cold, sick, lonley, or tired this person jumps in to try to fix it. A dry diaper, a soft warm place to sleep, a hug whatever that baby needs is provided. With my son that was disrupted. He did not have a parent to care for him this way. Sometimes when he was hungry or wet he got taken care of right away, sometimes he didn't. Every cry was not noticed. Because this first relationship was broken, he has a hard time with all his relationships. He does not have that first one to work off of. Look at us and God. The original plan had God as our primary caregiver. Look at the life Adam and Eve had. Everything was provided. The temperature was perfect all the time, food was right there whenever they wanted it. He walked with them and talked with them. Then the original plan got broken. The relationship got damaged. A seed of doubt was planted. That seed of doubt my son has "will mom really always be there for me or will she get tired of me and dump me?" is very much like the seed the snake put in Eve's mind, "Does God really want what's best for me? Is He really going to take care of me, or should I be prepared to take care of myself just in case?"
In both cases the trust was broken. My son has trouble trusting me to take care of him. We all have trouble trusting God to take care of us. When I won't let him watch TV all night long, he wonders if I love him or I am being mean. When God tells us no to something we want, we wonder if he really loves us or if he is being mean. My son has come a long way in his trust of me. I only hope that I am making similar progress in my Trust of my Father.