Understanding What God Means

There are people in this world who know from a young age they wanted to have kids, and that is great. But not this guy. There was never a time before I actually had kids where I just knew I had to have one. Children terrify me.

For example, the other day I witnessed a toddler throw away the center of a cinnamon roll. The actual center of the cinnamon roll. It’s the greatest bite of the cinnamon roll. It’s the only reason you get a cinnamon roll. The. Center. Of. The. Cinnamon. Roll. Children are monsters……monsters.

But to be fair they can be the best thing God has ever given you. You could have had your worst day at work, and you come home, and your 6-year-old shows you their school project from that day titled “My Hero”. And it says, “My dad is my hero. I love him more than McDonald’s chicken nuggets and my new Spider-man toy. He is big and strong and kills monsters every night so I can go to sleep”.

Stuff like that fixes what ails you that day. It also makes your allergies act up over time, and your eyes start watering because I am a big, strong monster-killing super-hero so I am definitely not crying.

What do you mean “what did I mean?

My kids are preteen now, and the main thing that bothers me about them is after I give, what I consider to be very simple instructions, I come back and they are not followed. I now understand why my mother was so livid when I didn’t take the chicken out the freezer for her before she got home from work. Their excuse……oh I didn’t understand what you meant. What do you mean “what did I mean”? What else could I have meant? How did you mess this up?

But like all good parents–(oh yeah, it took me almost 13 years, but I graduated from clueless parent to know what it takes to be a good parent)–you must break it down to them again. Teach them how to pay attention to detail, take on responsibilities, and learn the consequences of their actions.

Then give them another chance. Forgiveness and patience are two vital components of being a parent.

Acting Like Children

The children of Israel, after being rescued from Pharaoh, spent 40-years in the wilderness. The trip should have taken 11-days according to people smarter than me. God gave them guidance, food, freedom, peace, and explicit instructions, but the children of Israel basically still questioned God and asked, “What do you mean?”

Sometimes things are straightforward. No explanation needed. We know what we have to do, but we just don’t do it. Life isn’t as hard as we make it. We date the wrong person despite the 47 red flags flying right in front of our faces. We speed and ask God how he could allow this $425 ticket to happen to us when he knows we are heavily in debt.

Someone will say, “God I know I complain about my job every day and usually only give 75% effort but how could you let them lay me off, I have bills to pay”?

We can’t act like children. We have to take responsibility for our own actions. God gives us free will. He means well for us, and we have to allow him to work in our lives.

God, what do you mean?

What do you mean don’t gossip?

What do you mean don’t procrastinate?

What do you mean to love your neighbor?

What do you mean to treat people with the love of Christ?

These things are pretty straightforward yet we find ourselves still doing them from time to time.

God is saying “What do you mean what do I mean? I showed you what love is by sending my son to be born and die for you”. We know what he means. But like my kids and myself when I was a kid, we pretend we don’t understand.

Understanding What God Means

Isn’t it great that we serve a God who invented forgiveness and patience? One who doesn’t say, “Hey bring me that belt over there” when we deserve it—like my parents used to do. God wants you to know exactly what he means, with no confusion. You just have to be open to experiencing all he has to offer.

For example, my kids are open to experiencing a culture. They will try anything, from a cheeseburger at a Mexican restaurant, to a cheeseburger at a Mediterranean restaurant. One day hopefully in the future you will see a situation unfold in your life, and smile and say, “God, I know exactly what you mean!”

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