I have a friend who is an atheist.
She also has a very smart and talented son who usually prefers to act like a moron.
Needless to say, this combination has introduced her to the power of prayer.
Most of my friends who are raising teenagers, have told me that it is by far the most wretched experience of their lives and one that has made them question the entire concept of parenthood: why do we bring beautiful babies into the world if they are going to turn into little monsters (and not the I Love Lady Gaga type) who are going to muddle our perfect worlds? The only reason they get through the process is that they know that an adult will come out the other end, someday (we can only hope).
What is it about a teenager that makes them so difficult to manage? Is it the desire to experiment with drugs, sex and a host of whatever it is that they experiment with today? I never had kids of my own but the teenager who was under my care, custody and control never gave me any of those headaches, but then again he didn’t live with me so my point of view is skewed.
Talking to my friends they express frustration over the lack of verbal communication and motivation present in these kids today, texting incessantly, emailing, facebooking; in short, using electronic methods of communication to nurture their relationships, to develop their friendships and to simply deal with the communication of day-to-day (I shouldn’t complain about this because I’m no better).
When asked what she wanted to be when she gets out of high school, a colleague’s daughter responded, ‘I want to be done with school,’ the thought of college or higher education totally foreign to her in the realm of her future possibilities. I later learned she’s an A student with a great grade point average, she simply lacks motivation and the desire to speak to anyone using sounds and verbal gestures, hence the reason why she didn’t understand the question.
Once in a while, however, something magical manifests itself when the fates decide to be kind and show a kid what can happen when application meets execution. My friend called me today and started the conversation with one word and one question “Ready?”
I said yes and she proceeded to tell me how her son had done really well at a Drama competition, showcasing the piece he had performed, additionally obtaining some scholarship monies and just overall having a great showing during the event. She then proceeded to tell me how he is taking Advanced Placement courses and is keeping a decent grade point average. She was beaming through the phone and I could hear the smile in her voice and the relief in her words. I’ve known this boy since he was born and while I was not surprised at his accomplishment, I was surprised that he had ‘delivered’ on the goods I know he so possesses. I was proud of him but I was mostly happy for my friend. She doesn’t always get the opportunity to sing his accolades and her song has been long overdue. (So belt away my friend and hit whatever notes you want as respects your boy.)
She then said something that made me laugh and ultimately became the reason for this post. She said, ‘God is testing my atheist ways…’ somehow acknowledging the presence of God while still maintaining her disbelief in Him.
And just like that I realized a very simple fact:
God is a teenager.
He tests our faith, he makes us question our purpose, he communicates with us via text (albeit text in a book) and he materializes in the most unlikely of places, sometimes showing up at a district competition where your quite often challenging kid turns out to be one of the superstars.
The Lord works in mysterious ways.