by Jared Patrick Boyd
Some of the most excruciating moments of parenting are also some of the best. And tears are usually involved. I had one of these moments recently when my teenage daughter sat on the kitchen counter while I was washing dishes. I had just preached a sermon to our little faith community on the west side of Columbus, Ohio. A church we started with a handful of families in the spring of 2016. I don’t remember what I said exactly— like most everyone else who listens to a sermon. But in the hours after I preached it, I had an opportunity to hear from someone who was listening to that preaching with the kind of ears that are for hearing. She was looking at me now, with a bag of apples just behind her, with eyes tearful enough to know that she also was wanting to see. More importantly, I think she needed to be seen. A teenage daughter watching her dad do the dishes is code for something like, “I have something to say…” And so I washed those dishes as slowly as possible waiting for her to get the courage to say what it is that was on her mind
. The passage of scripture for this given Sunday had something to do with leaving house and home for the kingdom. Jesus is making a promise, as recorded by Mark, that anyone who leaves something important behind (brothers, sisters, fathers, fields) for his sake and for the sake of sharing the good news, will receive all those things back “in the present age.” I take him to mean that you won’t have to wait long because he then makes another promise about what comes in the “age to come”— eternal life— the kind of life that is filled will flourishing at the in-breaking of God’s kingdom, on earth, as it is in heaven. My daughter’s question was about when she could expect to see God do something for her, given that she herself had actually left her home behind to move, along with the rest of the family, to the poorest neighborhood of our city so that our life could be lived out for the preaching of the gospel. She reluctantly agreed to the move, but she wasn’t too happy about the list of unanswered prayers that were accumulating at the end of her bed. And I had nothing at all to say to any of it because I was tripping a bit over my own pile at the end of my bed. There was a moment when my heart burned and beat with wordless emotion. I wanted her to dig deep on faith and believe the words of Jesus. Which is just another way of saying that I wanted this same thing for me. All the doubt I was feeling was being mirrored back to me in my own daughter sitting there next to the InstaPot. I moved toward her. “I’m so sorry.” She began to cry really hard. “I’m so sorry. I know this is really hard for you. I know that there are prayers that you are praying and I know it feels like they aren’t being answered.” I began to cry rather quietly. “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’m sure that was a hard passage of scripture to sit with.” And yet, I think we both were experiencing good news as we embraced. There was more in that moment than the entirety of house and home we left behind.
Jared will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2020 Children’s Spirituality Summit. You can learn more about Jared’s ministry at https://www.imaginativeprayer.com.