Sometimes, I like to read CNN's Belief Blog. There are lots of opinions and thoughts about God in the world, and I like to read about what others think.
What I don't like to read are the comments. Typically they are filled with vitriol and hate speech. You know, the kind we Christians get accused of more and more often these days? And usually, as I scroll down through (apparently I'm a glutton for punishment) there's the person who says that anyone who believes in God is simply uneducated and a product of their Bible-belt wielding parents.
I have to chuckle at that one.
I'm a believer.
But I wasn't raised that way.
My Dad was in the military and we were never home. We usually lived at the minimum 4-5 hours away from family, and sometimes more. Like as in, living in a whole different country more.
Although my parents weren't believers, my Dad's parents were. So the few times we were able to come home and see family, my Papaw would take me to church with him. And in between times, he would pray for me and my brothers, and my Mom and Dad. But there was more going on than just the church-going and the praying...there was also the every day living.
1 Corinthians 2:14-17 says this:
"14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God."
Paul didn't know it at the time, but he was writing about my Papaw right there. The man exuded the aroma of Christ, and us grandkids inhaled it much like the way a drowning man gulps in oxygen.
And so, one night long ago, I knelt down in my backyard underneath a star-studded Texas sky. And for the first time I understood that God was real. And I was not alone. As a result of that tiny awakening, twenty-three years later, I would watch my parents come to Christ.
But I never would have believed, if I hadn't seen faith in action in the life of my Papaw.
The fact that my children have been raised with a firm foundation under them...
The fact that their children after them will be raised with a firm foundation under them...
Started with the prayers of a humble man who often lived thousands of miles from his grand-daughter, and who usually saw her once every two years.
My whole family, and the generations that will come after, is a witness to the power of what one faithful man's testimony can bring about.
Butterbean and I, we rock and sing. We play with fingers, and tickle tummies, and point at pretty flowers and all the while I tell her Jesus loves her. But the telling is not enough. There has to be the living.
My prayer today is that the living and the working and the breathing will fully live up to the task to plant the Eternal once again into new and precious ground.
So Lord, let the aroma of You flow out of me, and let the dying breathe You in. As You did for me, do for those I love and come into contact with. On earth as it is in Heaven, amen.
(How do you exude Christ to your littles? I'd love to know. Leave a comment and let's encourage one another.)