Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Learning from the Puppy Philosopher

I first noticed Paul as he was struggling to drag his suitcase up the steps of the lodge to check-in for
camp that dry Monday afternoon. His nine year old frame was only slightly bigger than the puffy sleeping bag sneaking out from under his left arm. I probably should have offered assistance, but I was fascinated right away at this little boy’s tenacity, and I felt that to interrupt would be to steal the victory I hoped awaited him at the top.

The best way I can think to describe him is that he reminded me of a puppy philosopher. He was small and cute … like a puppy, but time after time he would ask the simple but profound questions of a deep thinker, and yet, like a person trying to remember who they are, these questions were asked without the pride that so often attends great minds.

As we sat on the cool concrete pad behind the craft shack that Wednesday morning I kicked myself. Our post of 8 elementary boys had spent the past few days together and yet it was only at that moment that I realized the stupid assumption I had been making about Paul. I had simply asked him to pray and without any sense of the embarrassment that kids from a typical Christian home would suffer he declared he didn’t know how. “You’ve never prayed before?” I asked. “Nope” he said with a slight shake of his disheveled brown head. Curious, I probed, “Have you ever read the Bible before Paul?” “No, this week is the first time.” He said simply.

Modeling Our Life After A Box

I responded to a text a moment ago with the most lazy of possible responses: "K". It was apparently too demanding to add the additional "O" and a couple marks of punctuation.

Is this what our culture prizes: self-centered efficiency? Is there a place for artistry, for the inefficiency of laboring as a craftsman? We seem to be creating a society in which we work only until our particular infantile desire is satisfied and then we stop.

This attitude in architecture produced some of the ugliest public buildings in modern design. Are we satisfied to model our life after the efficiency of a box?

Jesus still makes the blind see

"I feel like I can finally see in color!"

This young man's brokenness was no match for the grace of God

I wish I could tell you his name. I wish that you could hear his whole story. 

Abuse that left bruises on his body and chunks of his life his mind won't yet let him remember. Beaten with the hands and by the words of those who should have offered hands and words of life. Living in constant fear and anxiety. Turning in desperation to a panoply of sins to escape the pain only to end up more broken. He was angry at God. And yet in the midst of that anger and confusion, like so many of us, God drew him gently to a fragile repentance and he cried out to God in childlike trust and found life.

As the scales are falling from his eyes he told me recently, "I feel like I can finally see in color!"Jesus still makes the blind to see! To see color in a world painted black with sin is truly a miracle only God can bring about!

Please pray for this young man. He has a name that God knows, and the road ahead is unimaginably difficult, but unimaginably bright.