A funny thing happened yesterday.
Asher and Silas (stick with me, this isn't just a story about my kids) were bickering. Bickering comes and goes between them - and I'm assuming it will for the rest of their lives - but violence is not tolerated, and Asher had harmed Silas in some way (though now I can't remember exactly how). When sent to his room he screamed at me, and that earned him some alone time in his bed, which is Big Serious Time-Out in our house. So Asher is in his bed, loudly lamenting his grievances, while I go about my business until he settles down enough to have a conversation. After a few minutes I realize that the lamenting had stopped. I stick my head in the door, and I see that Silas - the offended - has joined his brother and is sitting with him, in his bed, in time-out.
I grinned and said, "That's so like God, boys." Asher decided to try again, and our day went forward.
Tonight the moment has been on my mind. It's true that's how God relates to us, joining us even in the pit of our own making. But how would Asher ever really believe that, unless his brother lived it out for him? Though spiritual knowledge is spiritually imparted, our real-life experiences provide the grid through which we view God. Asher and Silas won't remember that moment, and they certainly won't remember the symbolism. But the relationships they are building now will very much influence their relationship with God in the future. And if no one ever sat with them in time-out, if no one ever extended them any grace, how would they ever believe that God extends grace, too?
A dear friend of mine has been uncertain and fearful this week. This afternoon I prayed, "God, please send her comfort." And I heard Him answer - You. Go comfort her. Because that's the way God works. He is able to write answers in the clouds or conjure peace out of thin air, but more often than not, He doesn't. Most of the time, answers come from well-timed Scripture readings, and peace comes from fellowship and time. Most of the time, God uses His people to reveal His nature.
Sometimes we all need our brother to sit with us, so that we can know God is with us too.