My parents bought a fixer-upper lake house when I was in the eighth grade. We had spent several summers in a rental lake house years previously. Our family loved the lake. My dad and I bonded most while we were on the water. It just so happened the year we bought that lake house was the last year we would enjoy the lake being full of water. The lake dried up and our lake house ended up being more of a ranch house with the lake turning into a ravine of tall grass and mud. We still wanted to make the best out of what we had, so we would still invite friends over and enjoy ourselves. One July 4th I had a small group of friends over and we were shooting off fireworks and really having a blast. That ended as soon as our neighbors decided to join in on the fun. These neighbors had been having a party since that morning, and they probably had a bit too much “water” during that party. Regardless, they thought they were okay to also join in on the fun. The main problem was that their aim was off. They must have gotten the air and the ground mixed up. They were shooting their fireworks right into the empty dried up lake. It did not end well.
My friends and I watched in amusement as my neighbors made fools of themselves. But, that did not last for long because we could see little fires starting in the lake bed. Within minutes we had a full-on grass fire; we all ran down there thinking the worst. Of course, it was my family’s lake house, so my mind was thinking that the entire lake bed was about to go up in flames. We quickly took our jackets off and started beating the fire with everything we had. I remember one of my friends saying “Hurry, we have to put this out before your dad sees” in a panicked tone that only a teenager in BIG trouble has. Right when he said that, all we heard was, “WATCH OUT!”
It was my dad, with a water hose coming from the side of the house starting to put this wild fire out. We stopped what we were doing, heavily breathing, and watched as my dad put out the entire fire effortlessly. As I think back on this now, I am confused why I didn’t just go get my dad in the first place. He had always known what to do, he has never not fixed a problem in my life.
I think it was the fear in me that had me saying, “Ohh no! Something bad happened. My dad is going to be so mad.” In reality, if I would have just changed my mindset and thought, “Ohh no, something bad happened. I need to go get my dad,” the fire would not have grown nearly as large as it did.
In our walk with Christ, this is the same kind of mindset change that needs to happen. We no longer sit and try to fix situations ourselves, hoping that we don’t get into trouble. We now have a Heavenly Father that we can run to in our times of trouble and need; a Father that we should be proud to call upon when things are going wrong. We know this because He has been human before. He knows every situation you could encounter.
John 11 really paints a beautiful picture of how Christ understands our human nature. Lazarus is very sick, so Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus to tell Him that their brother is dying. In Verse 4, Jesus responds, “This sickness will not end in death.” Fast forward and Lazarus ends up dying. Jesus then returns to Judea after the death of Lazarus. On his arrival Martha starts to blame the death of Lazarus on Jesus Himself saying, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Martha then sends word to Mary that Jesus is here. Mary and all the people with her go out to meet Jesus. When Mary gets to Jesus she also blames Jesus for the death of Lazarus, but Jesus sees her weeping. Then Verse 35 says, “Jesus Wept.” That’s the whole verse, nothing more. These two words tell us so much about the humanity of Christ. Because if you read on, Jesus actually raises Lazarus from the dead. So what was he crying for? He knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead…remember verse 4? Jesus said it was not going to end in death.
Jesus was crying because He felt the pain that Mary and Martha were both feeling. HE WAS CRYING FOR THEM! It is because of these type of truly human moments that we know the humanity of Christ. We see He is totally, one hundred percent, human. Therefore, we can now go to Him for anything we need. He understands, He cares, He weeps with YOU! For us to make that mindset change of running TO Him during times of trouble we must understand the humanity of Christ.
Because God is the true and perfect Heavenly Father, we are to imitate Him in our parenting. If we want our children to run to us during times of trouble then we need to show them how human we really are. We need to show our children our mistakes, our shortcomings, we need to let them see us cry.
Maybe you don’t cry every week, but you do have a chance every week to show them that you are not perfect. You have a chance to show them that you are vulnerable and that you need help. That chance happens during your Sunday morning church service. If your children see you submitting to the written Word of God, it shows that you don’t have all the answers, so you go to the one that does. If you pray daily asking God for help, it shows that you make mistakes, but ask for help from the one that doesn’t. If your children see you worshiping in response to the goodness of God, then they will see that you have joy and excitement for the Lord and they will want that too.
If we truly want to reflect Christ to our kids, then we must show them our most vulnerable moments, both at home and in the Church. If we start to show them that we are humans, just like them, their mindsets might change from “Oh no, I am in trouble,” to “Oh no, I need to call my dad.”