"I wish I could get my head in my heart daddy", one of my 4 yr. old sons declared after we'd prayed together at bedtime last night. "Why do you want to do that Bub?" I questioned. "So I could see God because God isn't real" he answered.
Man I wanted to dig way deep and give him something, something in a 4 yr. old's frame of reference that he could wrap his fingers around, that he could weep at the beauty and simplicity of it and cry out "God you're here". The best I could come up with was to blow on his hand and offer a lame metaphor of God being like the wind. I said God isn't the wind but he's like the wind, he can go in and come out and be everywhere yet not be seen. He asked me about heaven and God's house and whether its in our town (he's always real concerned about going "out of town" for some reason). He understood everything I said but finished the conversation by saying, "Dad, God is not real. I'm tired and am going to shut my eyes".
I lay there between my twin sons on the Queen-sized bed they share and imagined myself 2000 years ago, hearing for the first time that a baby had been born in Bethlehem who is thought to be Christ the King. I imagined being a Samaritan in a dung hut, hungry stomach, parched throat, swatting at flies and thinking, "God is not real". Or maybe I was a Roman centurion, months from being able to see my wife and children, blood on my hands from the last three Jews I'd just flogged and thinking "God is not real". But instead, as I listened to the breath of my sons grow deeper and more rythmic, and felt the warmth of their small bodies on each side of me as I stared into the sea of stars out their bedroom window I was drawn back to the feet of a near God, an up-close and personal God, a God of peace and order in a world of storm and chaos and I found him, as beautiful as before creation and creating as never before.
What does the real God look like to my town? my county? my state? my region? my country? my world? What does the real God look like to the hungry? the thirsty? the naked? the aids-inflicted? the elderly? the lost? the lonely? Does the real God look like us?