People all over the world say that when you have children, your life changes. Your entire outlook on the world becomes different – transformed instantaneously. All of a sudden there is a new thing that affects the way you think. The people that say that are absolutely right – but I think that they’re only half right.
I think that the moment you become a parent, you change, but it’s only the beginning of something new. It’s the beginning of a changing process, not a switch that’s flipped on. And really, the impact that having a child has on a Christian is even more powerful. For me, I am constantly reviewing and revising how I read the Bible, for instance.
The perfect example of this – and every one of you who has a son will instantly identify with this – is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Growing up, I heard the story over and over in church – Sunday School, Youth Group, the big pastor preaching Sunday morning – it’s a given. Abraham and Isaac is one of those Bible stories that I learned by rote. Yeah, I get it: Abe decided he would sacrifice his son cause God told him to. It was a tough decision – I get it.
Here’s what I’ve learned lately: It wasn’t a tough decision. It was an impossible decision. The level of obedience that Abraham displayed wasn’t some great thing that he was able to do because he was a “hero of the faith.” If Abraham was anything like I am, there’s no damn way that he could have laid his son down on that altar. He could not have done that. Not by himself. Abraham isn’t to be admired because of the toughness of his will. He didn’t have some quality that I don’t. What is special about Abraham is that he gave himself so fully to God, that God was able to all the work. Abraham just had to follow along. What I take away from that story is that there was no faith involved. Faith is being certain of what we don’t see – Abraham didn’t have that problem. There was no doubt involved for him. When you have the relationship with God that Abraham had by the time he was 100, where’s the difficulty?
Here’s what troubles me: it took Abraham 100 years to develop that relationship with a God that was completely evident to him. I’m a 26 year old that lives in perpetual doubt. What hope is there for me?
Fortunately, as I said earlier, you start to become different when you become a parent. Abraham’s relationship with God really needed Isaac before it became whole. I’ve already seen the manifestation of divinity – I see it every day in Samuel Atticus and Laney Elisabeth Barber. Even when Sam willingly disobeys, I can still see a small spark of holiness inside him. My faith becomes more whole thanks to those two little people. Not completely whole, of course. The paradox of faith is that it won’t be complete until we don’t need it anymore. But a little more whole. That’s good enough for now.