My Dad is the Boss

“My dad is the boss of you.”

My son explains this to his big sister’s friends, as if it’s an essential fact of life that they need to know.

These older girls climb into our minivan and strike up a conversation with him.

He launches into his typical introduction:   “I am Andrew Christopher King.  And my dad is the boss of you.”

Just like that.

He’s become rather obsessed lately with this hierarchy of authority.  It slips into  his conversations and even into his prayers.

At night, we let the youngest child choose which family member gets to pray in what order during our nighttime prayers.

So, when he chooses, he just doesn’t say the name of the chosen sister.

No, he adds a little clarification:

“Catherine will pray next.  Catherine is my friend and I am the boss of her.”

Or, maybe if this had been a source of contention during the day, he’ll say it like this:

“Catherine, my friend, and she is not the boss of me.”

This is probably all my fault as one of my great Mom fall-backs in the midst of a major preschooler meltdown is to announce, “You are not the boss.   I am the boss.  Mommy and Daddy are the boss.”

Sometimes, after all,  three-year-old kids miss that truth on their own.  They think their own whims and wishes and wills rule over all.  Here they reign in all their tyrannical glory.

Until Mom upsets all that by staking a claim to the boss’s title.

I guess he’s  trying desperately to find at least one person that he can boss around.

Truly, I understand his tiny attempts to assert control over  a big wide world where he has so little say in what happens.

I sympathize with that feeling of helplessness….of things not going the way you want…people not doing what you want them to do….all kinds of life trampling over all kinds of plans.

Maybe our instinctive reaction to life out of control is to  try to be in control.

We try to rescue and save and salvage.  We try to  put the pieces together and hold it all with Krazy Glue.

We try so hard to be the boss.

And the danger of that is, of course, we’re not.   We’re not sufficient for that.  We’re  not capable of managing it all  and doing it all  and running it all.

I am not the boss.

And, instead of that realization being terrifying, it can be liberating.

After all, “My Dad is the boss” and He’s greater than the unexpected and the unknown.  He’s greater than the dreaded date on the calendar and that one relationship that always seems to breakdown into disaster.

He’s greater than the overwhelming to-do list,  the difficult decision, and the impossible circumstances.

That’s what we need to know really.

In John 4, we discover Jesus’ longest recorded conversation in the Gospels, not with a disciple or follower, not with a rabbi or pharisee, not with a man.

Instead, he talked with a Samaritan woman while sitting at a well in the heat of the day.  And she tangled that conversation right up with worries about religious practices and traditions.

She didn’t understand when he talked about “Living Water” or the well or even why a Jewish man would talk to a Samaritan woman in the first place.

So, she asks this question:

12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”   John 4:12 ESV

Are you greater THAN…

That’s what everything came down to for her and what it comes down to for us.

Is Jesus Greater than those we’ve turned to and trusted in?

Is He Greater than anything we face?

Is He Greater than our weakness?

Is He Greater than the mountain that looms and the valley that surrounds?

In a blog  post, author Kelly Minter wrote:

we tend to get stuck: right at that point of believing someone or something—right in the dead center of our lives—is greater than Jesus. Or the reverse, that Jesus is not as great, loving, or powerful as whatever it is we’re hoping will quench our thirst or quell our fears or satisfy our longings.

Maybe this whole issue of who is the boss isn’t just a preschooler’s issue.

Maybe this is for us.

We love and worship and follow our God who is greater than this.  All of this.

Nothing can overwhelm or overcome Him and nothing else could satisfy us or rescue us.

He is Greater.

 

What Silence Means…

It’s when they’re quiet that you need to be worried.

That’s parental advice passed down through generations, usually learned from personal experience.

I learned my lesson, too.

My oldest girl did this thing when she was three years old called a “tantrum.”  Maybe you’ve heard of them?  Maybe you’ve seen one . . . or thrown one.

After a particularly rowdy tantrum on the car ride home one day, she stomped into the house still screaming, ran into my bathroom and slammed the door.

Unfazed, I took my time setting her baby sister down for a nap and tossing my keys and arm-full of papers and baby paraphernalia onto the kitchen counter.  I breathed in deep breaths of Mom sanity.

Then I realized that the banshee wail had subsided into silence, frighteningly loud silence.

Throwing open my bathroom door, I saw my red-faced preschooler crouched on the carpet, her hands covering her head as she sobbed.

On the floor next to her was her hair.

Her hair!

Her long, totally beautiful, golden curly hair.  In her rage, she had climbed onto my bathroom counter and dug through to the bottom of my makeup case where I hid the hair scissors.  Then she had systematically snipped off the two pig-tails on the tip-top of her head.

She was bawling.  I was bawling.  We raced to the local hair salon and plopped her up in the chair for a rescue mission.  Our superhero that day sported a comb and some clippers.

Sometimes we think silence means inactivity and stagnation, abandonment and loneliness, but instead it’s often a sign of focused activity.

With kids, that might mean trouble.

With God, though, as heart-wrenching and full of despair as His silence is, we needn’t fear the quiet.  It’s often a promise that He’s at work right there in the middle of your circumstances, deeply involved in your life.

This was me not long ago.  I thought I had it figured out, what God was doing and how He was at work and how He planned to bless and care for us, but I was wrong.

The thing about cramming God into boxes is that He shatters the confines of the cardboard.

So, when life didn’t go as I had planned, I cried out to Him: What are you doing?  What does this mean?

Why can’t I hear You?

The silence is so oppressive and filled with overwhelming sadness.  We just want to hear His voice, His quiet voice or His booming command, His encouraging cheer, or His tender whisper.  Whatever He wants to say, we’re desperate to hear it.

Because we feel afraid.

I drove off that night on an arbitrary errand, alone in my car, praying away in the quiet.  Then I hit the play button on the CD for our church Christmas cantata:

“Peace, oh my soul, weary from the struggle
Don’t be afraid, Love knows your deepest need.
There is a light shining in the darkness.
There is no shadow where it cannot reach.
Peace, peace, Jesus has come
O soul, be still, receive your King”

The song faded and one lone voice cut through the silence:

“The Lord is with you . . . Fear not, Mary ….For nothing is impossible with God….Joseph, fear not.  Fear not!  For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given…Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…Fear not!  They will call Him Immanuel–which means, ‘God with us.’  Fear not, for I am with you”

My husband asked me when I flopped on the couch later, “Were you crying?”

How could I do anything but cry?

I had been desperate for the slightest trickle of His voice and He had drenched me in His Word.

But even when I didn’t hear Him, God was still there, still active, still with me. That hadn’t changed.

In his book, Greater, Steven Furtick writes:

God is often working behind the scenes of your life, orchestrating His destiny for you.  Even though you don’t have a clue what He’s up to.  Just because you haven’t heard God call your name or tell you specifically what to do with your life doesn’t mean He’s not conspiring great things for you.

Sometimes we feel like Job: “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me” (Job 30:20).

But even in the silence we can hold to the promise:

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice
(Psalm 55:16-17).

He hears you.  And when He chooses to speak, the wave of His voice might wash over you and knock you off your feet and carry you to safety.  For now, just keep listening, keep waiting, and don’t be afraid of the silence.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King