Last night I was putting my little boy to bed – as I always do reading him a chapter of the “Cars Book”, Mater and Lightning McQueen followed by the Bible and a prayer. Last night’s devotional was about God always being available – which took us, as all conversations with 4 year olds tend to do, on a literal exploration of the topic. “He’s always near ready to listen to you,” I told my son. “But I don’t see him.” “Yes you do,” I answered. “He shows Himself in His creation – flowers and mountains and doggies – and He reveals Himself through His Bible and the way He speaks to us when we are quiet. Besides,” I went on, “it doesn’t matter because He sees you.” “Right now?” My little boy asked, eyes going wide. “Yes, always,” and he looked around the room, at the ceiling covered with night-light stars and the walls covered with big rocket ships and planets. “But why?” “Because,” I said “He cares. He loves you. And He needs you, because He has something He wants you to do.”

That blew him away. “Me??” he giggled. God, who was everywhere and made the planets and the butterflies needed him? No way.

childs faith

We are imperfect tools of God’s design, aren’t we? Messy and smelly and angry all the time. Greedy and blind and lusty – and vicious. I sure wouldn’t depend on us, if I were He. We’re certainly not to be trusted.

But maybe He wants it that way?

I spend a lot of time on issues of human evil. Totalitarian Islam, civil war, communism – violence begetting violence in an endless downward spiral into the black abyss below. 20 years running from ambushes or hiding from terrorists or playing cat-and-mouse with secret police. Fighting these things would seem a much better task for the angels or the djinn – we humans are weak and easily confused, easily sidetracked.

I think of my little boy, the world I brought him into and wonder what I’ve done – then I remember the truth, that timeless truth that came to us from God’s own son: God gives us children to remember what is good and perfect and pure; what we are fighting for, and how. I’m reminded of the Michael Card song, “When we in our foolishness thought we were wise, He played the fool and He opened our eyes; when we in our weakness believed we were strong, He became helpless to show we were wrong.” To remind us that the games that we play with each other are the real foolishness – that worldly power is passing, so why fight for it? And that the strength that we vindictively inflict upon each other is in fact weakness.

That we have a purpose – His weak and fragile errand-boys sent along life’s darkest paths on His good and perfect projects.

This is important for me sometimes to remember. Because I’m often tired these days of the evil. It has left an indelible smudge on my soul that annoys me – it has robbed me of my invincibility, reminding me that there is only security in our God – and that, not for this lifetime. A little tired of the fear and insecurity; I often have that weird little yearning in the pit of my stomach for pure power that I imagine would come with money and impunity. Until I am reminded by my little boy of the excitement of discovery as we realize that God needs us, but He can only use us if we are “foolish” and “weak”.

And that gives us the energy to press on!!

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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2 Responses to Perspective

  1. Marilyn Shoger says:

    Hi Joel, Thank you for this article. It is often from the mouths of children that God reminds us of HIS beauty and love for us. Keep on writing….you speak to the heart on so many issues. 🙂 Because of Him…..Love and Hugs, Aunt Marilyn….1985 I THINK I have the year right!


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