By Nathan C. Vance
I love my 2-year old son. He is hyper and so smart and has the biggest, brightest smile in the world. That’s Jude 80 percent of the time. The other 20 percent, he is very sensitive and occasionally cranky. Cranky is him in rare form, a trait that he inherits honestly from his father. The other day he woke up from his nap, as he usually does, with bright smile and an astounding willingness to show off his big brain. As I got him from his bed, we talked and laughed. This was a very ordinary conversation. Then, I asked if he wanted his milk. Normal question. One that I’ve asked hundreds of times, and one that is normally answered without any complication. Within seconds, Jude was impatient, inconsolable, unreasonable. He HAD to have his milk immediately. Dad couldn’t move fast enough.
I was shocked. With my every movement his mood became more and more dramatic. I didn’t understand. He has never gone a single day without his milk. He has rarely ever even been delayed in getting it. I looked at him and thought, “Bud, when has daddy ever let you down?” He was so upset that it was unnerving to me. More than that, I was confused. Did he really think that I was going to deprive him? Doesn’t he know by now how much I love him?
I handed him his milk, and suddenly, the 80 percent Jude was back. He smiled. He ran to the other room giggling as he went. He was back seconds later showing off how smart he was and asking for more to drink, and the attitude was gone. As he went on to playing his guitar, drums, keyboard, hula-hoops, basketball, baseball, trucks, etc. I was left with the scene from before. I couldn’t figure it out and I couldn’t move on from it. I had to know why he had acted so out of character.
As I sat puzzling, a thought dropped into my being so clear and so profound that it could not have been my own. The thought was, “Didn’t Jude remind you of anyone?” Another thought came to me, an answer, one that I knew was my own because it was so clueless. “Nope.” Fortunately, that wasn’t the end. “It surprises you that Jude fears that you might not come through for him in spite of all evidence to the contrary and yet, he is acting just like you. You know your Heavenly Father. You know that he loves you. You know that he has directed every step in your life and has sent immeasurable blessings to you and yet, you doubt in every thought. You beg in your prayers. You become frantic even when I tell you I’m in control. Jude was merely acting like you.”
The Bible tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. The Bible says that “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). It’s there as plain as day. Verses that I’ve read many times over, and yet, God had to show me his word through a two-year old’s temper tantrum. In that little scene I could clearly see how, even when I thought I was walking in faith, the truth is that I don’t walk in faith at all. As much as I want to, I’m like Jude and his milk, when I perceive a true need, I become frightened that my daddy might not come through. I have to fix that.
I was praying for the residents of Florida this week. I can’t imagine the emotions they must be feeling. I wanted so badly to have something for them. A word or an article or something. I just want to be a person who uplifts in a world filled with people who tear down. I realize that it will take more than encouraging words to help the people of Florida just like I know that it will take more than a couple of words to heal the world. In spite of this, I sought God for something.
As that prayer stayed on my mind, a co-worker asked me my take on Luke 21:18-24 in relation to recent events. This section has been very popular as of late. Intrigued by the question, I read it and then I re-read it. I saw clearly why he was asking. Signs in the sun, moon, and stars and the roaring waves. And wars and rumors of wars. And I kept reading and I got nothing. That passage could very well have been prophetic to the very events unfolding right now, but, I have no decisive answer either way. So, I expanded my reading to include all of Luke chapter 21. As I kept reading the chapter and meditating, I did have a thought. It came from the very beginning of the chapter, a portion seemingly disconnected from the question I had been asked.
“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4).
I can’t say if we are at the end. I don’t know if the series of devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunami’s are straight out of Luke 21. I don’t know who the anti-Christ is. I don’t know if North Korea is going to destroy the world in nuclear war or not. I don’t know when Damascus, Syria will be destroyed though that seems inevitable. I don’t know all of the dangers that are going to be or when the end will come. But I do know where our refuge and strength come from.
The widow in Luke 21 had the answer. Her faith was so great that Jesus, God in the flesh, bragged on her. She had faith to trust God, not when times were good, but when times were obviously bad. She didn’t trust him with somethings, she trusted him with everything. She knew what I am still learning, that when God says he’s our father, he means literally, he’s daddy, just like I am to Jude. And he’s never going to refuse a need when we bring it to him. He is bigger than our situation and our storm. As he asked in Job 38:4, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the world?”
Our Father is in control as long as we let him be. He will protect and prosper us when we put our trust in him. God included this widow in the same chapter as the apocalyptic prophesy for a reason, because he wants us to know when that the worst comes, the faith of the widow is what will get us through. Our daddy has never failed us, and he won’t fail us, but we have to trust him! Not with some things, but with everything.