Sunday's sometimes turn into battlegrounds at the Byrdmouse House. My oldest daughters don't want to get up (ever). Yesterday was no exception. I left with my middle daughter after the time Sunday School had started so we were very late. She in turn didn't want to go into her class late. We were only late because of her, but that's a finer point lost to a double-digit-pre-teen. As I walked the hall headed to my class, I met the Associate Pastor. He has a cool, long title, but even he thinks it too long and settles for AP. He mentioned that there were few people in my class so they joined another class for the day. This shouldn't bother me, but I was a member of that class for several years. I didn't fit in, didn't like it, and when the class I joined after being in it disbanded I called the AP and told him that I would be watching the "SS Enrolled" numbers in the weekly bulletin and it had better go down by 1 because I was no longer enrolled in a class. Seems harsh but only because it is. I know lots of people in the class, some I even consider friends, I don't have anything against them or the teacher but month after month I sat in the class thinking that I was one of the youngest members of the class and yet the subject matter they were going over was juvenile compared to where I am in my walk.
After walking around the church once, I went on to the class. Most of the people in there I don't get to see much, many I never get to see with my new split personality life, so I sucked it up. The teacher was at the beach (again) so a substitute was in charge. A great guy, and good teacher, but as he started it was as if I had never left.
He began by talking about the discipline of God and asking if we ever praised the discipline of God. Who gets happy about discipline? The thing is several years back, I tried it. It works. Do I crave being disciplined? No, and while Dondi talked I was playing in my head about how often now when my car breaks down or I scrape a knuckle fixing a problem I don't really know how to fix I find myself praying and thanking God for paying attention to me. I can't count the number of times at the start, or in the heat of a bad moment I have thanked God for working on me, told him I would spend as much of His money as He wanted to on the problem, and it would be great if He would just reveal to me what it is I needed to know. It has been life transforming.
As these thoughts whirl through my mind, I began thinking of a story point, one where the student learns and grows by what the teacher says even though the teacher doesn't get it. This will be another story post, but not the point. While this is going on (doesn't everyone operate on multiple levels simultaneously?) my phone rings. It's my young bride, who subsequently texts me to say "Answer the phone." Now I'm dense, but one thing I can do is follow instructions, at least from her, and at least part of the time.
My eldest child decided she really didn't want to do what her mother wanted her to do. After having drug her feet and making the self-fulfilling prophesy that she wouldn't be ready to go with me to church, she was being brought with her mother and youngest sister to her grandmother's where they would be helping her recover from a recent operation (the reason my wife wasn't with me at church). After slamming the hall door, the sliding door, the screen door to the porch, she yanked on the motorized, automatic door of my wife's van and proceeded to pull it off the track.
Did you know you can pull a van door off its track? Me neither. This led to a half hour search when I was unable to find my middle child (a different matter entirely) so I left her at church while going home to fix something I had no idea how to fix. Lying on my back in the driveway on leaves, sticks and pebbles looking up at my grease covered hands, partially buried in the guts of the bottom of the van door, wondering if I was about to pinch or cut off a finger, I noticed the irony of it all. I was about to (and did) pray my "thanks for the discipline, what am I supposed to be getting out of this" prayer.
The door snapped back in easily. I had figured out 3/4ths of it before my wife pulled up on the iPhone the trick (back and in) to the operation. My daughters received their discipline later. I received mine. And I was able to put my money where my mouth was implementing a Sunday School Lesson while it was being taught.
God is good, all the time.