Guys. I’m in love.
I’m in love with the craziest and sweetest, funniest and smartest guy I know.
This kid guys.
He has pushed his way past all my protests that ‘I’m not really a kid person’, and he weaseled his way right into my heart.
He is lazy as all get out, smart in the sneakiest of ways and he has the world sort of wrapped around his little finger.
When this kid explains why he can’t use the potty, his excuses include that he is ‘blind’ or that he ‘can’t climb upstairs’. There are no stairs in his house.
Last week, Ben stood in the living room crying because according to him he was physically unable to pull his PJ pants up. The only thing between him and the promise of cake in the kitchen were these PJ pants, stalled around his knees and I guess it was all a little too much for the buddy.
I crouched down and tried to imitate what I’ve watched his amazing mom do a million times:
Ben. Breathe buddy. Just breathe. Look at me. Ben. I know you can pull your pants up. I know you can.
He sniffled and then reached down with one hand and pathetically tugged on his pants. No movement. Weeping ensued again.
Ben. Stop. Look at me. I’m not going to do this for you. No matter how much you cry. I’m not going to. Because I believe you can do it.
I was pretty tempted to just pull up his pants for him, just to stop the crying. But I know the tricks. I know how this works. And I know Ben is a smart smart kid.
And so I just hug him. Tell him I love him. And I tell him I will stand right here with him, and help him in any way I can, but I will not do it for him because I know he can do it.
I encourage him to use two hands and just do one big pull, and then take a break and we’ll figure out where’re we’re at.
More weeping and wailing as one hand reaches down and feebly tugs on his pjs.
Finally, after about 16 more rounds of this, Ben pulls up his pants. And then he is all smiles as we eat some cake together.
Ben and I, we are cut from the same cloth. I was thinking this morning as I was reading Romans 10 that our kind have a great advantage when it comes to the Gospel.
The Gospel tells us to stop trying to save ourselves and let someone else do it for us.
Ben and I, we get that we need help and we have no problem leaning on others to do work for us.
Eli, Ben’s 4 year-old brother, would have a really hard time with that. He wants to do everything himself. He likes to be in control and he likes a challenge. Eli will need to wrestle and fight to trust the glorious truth that we have to cease striving and let Jesus come get us in order to be saved.
My kind are good at being saved. I’m pretty comfortable with being a burden to others. I have no desire to try to save myself.
But this morning, as I was praying and picturing Ben with his PJ pants half way down his legs in the living room weeping, I realized that our kind face a really different danger.
Like Ben, I’m not willing to stand in the living room crying while there’s cake in the kitchen. And if Jesus seems to be taking too long to help me, I’ll turn to anyone or anything else that offers to get me closer to that cake.
Our problem is that we will let anyone save us.
We are so uncomfortable with being uncomfortable that we will do whatever it takes to be comfortable, even if it means turning to the world instead of waiting on Jesus.
I’ve had the picture of Ben in my head a lot this week.
I have felt uncomfortable and anxious, and I know that friends, food, relationships, sleep all hold out the promise of helping me as I stand in the middle of the room crying. Each one of them creeps up and offers to help make me feel better and get me closer to that cake.
I guess for my kind, sanctification looks like getting comfortable with crying in the living room until we can learn to cry for the only hope we have: Jesus. I want to learn to stand and cry and refuse every offer of help that isn’t Him.