A lot of what I have learned about faith I have learned from my youngest daughter, Mackenzie. There are things that we have attempted to teach our kids, but when they have learned the lesson better than we expected or intended, it has knocked us off our feet.
Today I had a “fact” conversation with Mackenzie and her strong husband, David.
It was clear to them that I was carrying a load of cares. My mind swirled with the details, descriptions, and facts. Add the other distractions and disciplines and the lives of others in their storms and I emphasized to them things of which I seemed certain and sure.
After that talk, there was still much to prepare and finish before Sunday arrived. Amid that work, I was bothered. Something gnawed at me. Had I not expressed myself clearly? Had I left something out?
When I turned toward bed tonight, I realized what it was - I was wrong - I was shortsighted -You see, I was barking up the wrong tree. It was hopeless.
A long time ago - from the foundations of the world (Eph 1:3-4) - Mackenzie has learned to trust in the Lord with all her heart and not to lean on her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). Despite all the facts, she has experienced God’s faithfulness.
Don’t get me wrong - we wanted to instill that belief in her - but God did it better than we ever imagined. When she pursued leaving Burllington to attend Lutheran High School in Parker Colorado for her junior and senior year, we humored her interest. We went along with conversations, internet searches, and fantasizing. We even visited the school.
When we sat down with admissions to put the facts on the table and to put her idealism to rest to get on with the reality of facing her junior and senior years at home. Our facts were met with God’s faithfulness.
“Mackenzie doesn’t understand all the obstacles that stand in the way of her plans,” I matter-of-factly relayed to the director.
I could have nodded and winked at that moment. But, he mistakenly responded, “Lke?”
He obviously missed his cue. “Like, Lutheran is an extremely academically-challenging environment.”
“We have a diversity of students here - each gifted in a different way.”
“Yes, of course. Then there’s the tuition thing - I’m a teacher; my wife is in ministry - we have no way…”
“We have scholarships and we consider the financial needs of our students.”
I was getting a little perturbed. “Well, I don’t think you understand - we’re not moving here.”
“We have many students here who have host families. I can think of a perfect fit for her right now.”
This went on for twenty to thirty minutes. Finally, I pushed back in my seat. Both Jenny and I had no obstacles that God didn’t have an answer for. Faith reduced fact to rubble and dust.
I was alone with my thoughts tonight. They returned to David (18) asking Mackenzie (18) to marry him - as Mackenzie had foreseen. Now at 24 and a thousand answered prayers later - he is as trusting in Papa - their Heavenly Father - as she is. And Oaklyn already shouts Heavenly Papa’s praise at the top of her lungs.
I’m thankful beyond measure that God speaks through her, and through them. Even in their still, resolute expression of acceptance for my poor facts and details.
Even though I have had my own moments of extraordinary miracles and proof, I still have my moments of reason. Someday I will learn they are no match for Faith.
I am thankful for the faith of a child. Mark 10:13-16 speaks of entering the kingdom through such faith. This is not a description of heaven, but a description of how we receive God’s gifts. Children receive gifts without rights, claims or reasons. They understand being empty-handed. And, when their hands are filled, they simply rejoice.
Mackenzie teaches me this often through her trust. God teaches me this every time. I catch my mind racing through all the places I’ve been both physically, emotionally and spiritually, and I say, “Oh yeah, now I remember, this is Your world!”