A few weekends ago my oldest son wanted to sleep outside. And when my oldest son wants to do something, he lets me know of his plans every chance he can. We could be talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and Caleb would insert a plug for his case to sleep outside.
Maybe it’s partly my fault. Being the mama that I am, I don’t tell him yes to everything, for if I did, we’d be fur trading in Alaska and eating bear soup for dinner. I make him work for his yeses. He must convince me as to why he needs to sleep outside in such a way that I understand his cause and want to say yes to him with joy.
So I had put him off for days but by Saturday night I had no more reasons to say no. He had convinced me and with a smile I said Yes.
Now the only problem was, he wanted to sleep outside by himself. Which means, his younger brother was not included. That was the problem. His younger brother, Zach, idolizes him and does not like to sleep alone.
In order to accommodate for this deficit, Caleb invited Zach to sit around the campsite with him in the evening, where they’d start a fire and play games until bedtime. Then Zach would go inside.
The deal was made.
However this particular evening Caleb got a later start than usual setting up the campsite. Unfortunately as a result, the boys only had 15 minutes for the coveted game playing and fire time.
Not exactly part of the deal.
When the time was up, Zach shuffled into the kitchen where I was finishing cleaning up dishes and with tears in his eyes asked, “Do I really have to come in?”
Now, unlike with his older brother I find it SO hard to hold my ground when his cute puppy dog eyes look back at me disappointed like that. But I closed my eyes, held my ground and said, “Yes, buddy. I’m so sorry…it’s just late. But you can go out there in the morning and be with him. I’m sure he’ll start a fire then too.”
Sniffing, he dropped his eyes, said OK and got ready for bed.
The next morning, when I woke up and stumbled into the kitchen I noticed Caleb’s shoes by the back door. Doing some sleepy calculations, that meant he had come in during the night to finish sleeping inside. One look in his room confirmed the notion.
By the time I got back to our bedroom, my husband and I heard the backdoor open and shut. Now Zach is awake and before he could blink twice he was out the door, heading out to the campsite to be with his brother.
Knowing he wouldn’t find Caleb outside, Adam bounds out of the room to catch Zach before he’s upset.
“Zach,” he calls. “Caleb had to come in last night so he’s not out there. He’s still in his room.”
Zach, unable to really process, is devastated and starts crying, “But I wanted to start a fire with him!”
It took a few minutes for him to get his bearings and calm down.
The next thing we know, Caleb wakes up and after seeing Zach’s pitiful face, slips on his boots and takes his younger brother out the campsite to start a fire with him. Together they took a seat in a lawn chair and watched the crackling flames burn for a few minutes before going inside and getting ready for the day.
Zach’s enthusiasm to be with his big brother inspires me. It inspires me to want that kind of relationship with Jesus. To be so excited just to be with him, that I jump out of bed and go to Him before I’m even fully awake.
In a world that tells me I need to do more, I see Jesus beckoning me to come.
He says, “Are you weary and burdened? Come to me and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
When Jesus went to the home of Mary and Martha because the man who He loved was sick, He found Lazarus had been dead for four days. He had the stone rolled away from the tomb and in a loud voice said, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 12:38-43)
When a rich young ruler met Jesus and told Him how he’d kept all the commandments since he was a boy and asked what else he needed to do to follow Him, Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:16-21)
When children were brought to Jesus for Him to lay His hands on them and pray for them, yet the disciples rebuked those who brought them, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
When a baby was born to a virgin girl and placed in a manger, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
And when Jesus saw two brothers fishing at the lake, He called out to them, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18-19)
Come. Just come. You don’t have to be fully awake, you don’t even have to be dressed for the day. Come as you are.
Then the change happens. He makes us fishers of men…He gives us rest…He makes us rich…He takes off our grave clothes…He causes us to worship…He shows us the Kingdom of Heaven…
Just as my oldest boy invited his younger brother to join him by the fire, Jesus invites me – us – to do the same.
Come join me. Come follow me.
Lord help us come!
On one hand I wish I had life together and everything figured out. A clean house with a place for everything and everything in its place. But then I think, what fun would that be? It’s in life’s messes I watch my Creator make a masterpiece. He takes my spilled paint, torn fabric and frayed strings of life and weaves in His Redemption and Love and makes it something beautiful. His creativity inspires me to be creative. So watch your step! And thanks for joining me on this messy, creative adventure of life.