Thursday, January 5, 2017
And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6(NLT)
In the wee hours of a summer morning in 1986, our family was sleeping soundly. That blissful peace was interrupted by a scream, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy..." A man (whom the police later called the "I-75 Cat Burglar") had come in my daughters' bedroom window. He brazenly checked the contents of the house while we all slept. He even perused our medicine cabinet and refrigerator.
Jennifer was only 15 at the time. She was a light sleeper, and awoke to the man's movement near her bed. She was paralyzed with fear, and could not get the words out until after the man noticed her, and fled the house. Then her screams woke the household (and the neighborhood dead)! My search for the old .22 rifle was too late. (I'd probably have shot myself in the leg anyway.)
It seems unnecessary to add that the man was not welcome, an intruder.
Our household is an empty nest now; our children are all grown now with families of their own. When they can they visit, and when they do, they don't need to knock before coming in. They are not strangers, they're welcome. They're not intruders, they're loved family. They don't sneak in the bedroom windows in the darkness, they walk right in the front or back door in the daylight. And they don't need to knock!
God's children don't need to knock either! In the family of God there is constant access to the Father.
We used to have an Alaskan Malamute dog named Saami – 100 lbs of Salesman Smart-Missile. She had a particular distaste for anyone trying to sell you something at the front door. For these strangers there was no constant access (or any access)! Saami would protect the family!
God's children also understand the family ways and the inside jokes of the family. Human families have their inside stories.
If you had ever had the opportunity to sit down to dinner with my Mom and Dad, and part of the meal is pickled red cabbage, you’d have thought my mother lost her mind. The reason is an inside family joke. Years ago someone mispronounced it while setting it out on the table. Since that moment Mom has not been able to look at "Red Garbage" without breaking up.
Inside jokes are what make family reunions great. You tell the same story for the 1,800th time, and it is enjoyed better every year.
There is much laughter in the family of God. And God approves! In fact, He created us with a built-in capacity and need for joy!
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22(NLT)
Theologian Helmut Thielicke put it in perspective,
Should we not see that lines of laughter about the eyes are just as much marks of faith as are the lines of care and seriousness? Is it only earnestness that is baptized? Is laughter pagan? We have already allowed too much that is good to be lost to the church and cast many pearls before swine. A church is in a bad way when it banishes laughter from the sanctuary and leaves it to the cabaret, the nightclubj and the toastmasters.[ii]
Inside jokes, plenty of laughter and no need to knock – sounds like family to me.
[ii] Helmut Thielicke, quoted by THE BIBLE ILLUSTRATOR, (Hiawatha, Ia, Parsons Technology, 1990), Idx 1926-1943