Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Encountering God

God is also in the down-to-earth, everyday goings-on of life. I'm so glad!! I realized I was experiencing his presence not long ago while in the midst of a home church meeting. Part of the group is made up of one family: mom, dad, their son, his wife and their baby, and two grown daughters with their respective families.

The Lord has blessed the three young couples with four little boys among them, ages about 4 years to 5 months. Lively, sunny-natured little guys who adore each other, they have a ball at gran and grandad's home. As we grown-ups attacked the food, the three older youngsters giggled with delight (that special joy only close boy cousins share), chasing each other in and around the taller people. Mamas and daddies monitored their speeds and slowed them down when necessary. Every now and then a couple of the men wondered about the activity at their kneecaps; when they looked down, they beheld short fellows in pajamas karate-chopping their patellas. All in fun, no harm done.

The three mamas, dads and the grandparents worked together as a team, corraling and caring for the bundles of energy. I heard, "Do you want me to fix his plate?" or "I can give him his bottle." Kisses and hugs were bestowed randomly and often. If by chance one of the boys fell victim to an owie, comforters were johnny on the spot.

The 18-month old took time out from frolicking to make a sudden stop in front of his grandmother - he mumbled some request in a strange language. She understood it! Turning to his mother, she asked, "Is it okay to give him this?" (Respect. Granmom did not want to ignore parental rules, or even preferences.) Mom nodded okay, and her son flashed a grin that dazzled all close by.

The 5 month old spent the evening being cradled and smooched on by mom, aunts, grandmom and granddad. Anytime relief was needed, many willing hands reached out to aid the baby's mommy. He was content with every one of his adoring relatives!

Correction - sometimes hard to give in a crowd - was handled firmly, and with respect to the children. I didn't hear ridicule, sarcasm, harsh, screaming voices or inappropriate language erupting.

Even though the great-grandparents weren't there this evening, I can't leave them out! They're very much involved in the lives of their children, grandchildren, and great-grans. The two of them gladly help out in times of need, and know their little great-grans well from frequent contact with them. Once at another get-together, I saw one of the granddaughters lean over, kiss her grandmother on the cheek and whisper her thanks for their wonderful help when she was sick. Great-grandmother also teaches their Sunday School class weekly.

I know these families aren't perfect. They suffer stress, anxieties, misunderstandings and other problems just like we all do. They even make mistakes!

However, the point is not whether they do everything right; the point is that God has been invited to live among them. He binds them together in love. And the Lord's influence was so obvious that night as they loved on those kids, on each other, and on those of us who were privileged to watch God in their midst.