Those who remember the golden years of the 1980’s world of cinema will bring to mind the tasteful and timeless hairdos, the seamless and realistic CGI and the startlingly lifelike animatronics. And if, as you may, you sense a slight lack of sincerity in my praise of 80’s cinematography, let me appease you with a single word:
OK, so the animatronic star of the film “Gremlins” may have had eyeballs that looked like cheap marbles and fur that looked like it had been inherited from a B-list teddy bear, but he was, for all that, inescapably cute. That, at least, is the view that Dominic (7) formed when he discovered Gizmo (as you may recall, one of a race known as “Mogwai”)
Gizmo became his yardstick of adorability, and he began asking, day after day: “Am I as cute for you as a Mogwai?”
“Yes,” I reassured him “you are even cuter.”
For a time, this response satisfied him. Eventually, however, there came a day when the conversation became much more analytical.
Dominic: “Daddy, am I as cute for you as a Mogwai?”
Me: “Yes Dominic, you are even cuter.”
Dominic: “Oh. How many times cuter?”
Me: “Um…a thousand times cuter!”
Dominic: “Oh. And how many times cuter than a Mogwai is Oliver?”
Suddenly something which had been a search for reassurance of my unrelenting love for him had become a competition for reassurance at the expense of his brother.
There’s a throwaway line in one of C. S. Lewis’ books (“The Horse and his Boy”) which I’ve always found arresting. As with so many stories, we reach the part where all the loose ends that have puzzled the main character are brought together into an explanation that makes sense. Eager to get as much information as she can, she asks for an explanation of what happened to her friend too, and is given the response:
“Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
I doubt I am alone in sometimes wanting to compare myself with other people. On my more honest days, I might admit that I’d like reassurance of how much more my heavenly father approves of me than he does of them. That’s what happens when I try to reassure myself that my theology is right and theirs is wrong. And that’s what happens when I berate myself that others seem to do so much more for God than I do.
But in reality, his unrelenting love for me is enough. That is my story.
When other people tell their stories, it can – and should be immensely encouraging. If I’m to be doing any better than comparing myself to a Mogwai, I need to allow myself to be encouraged by others’ stories without letting that interfere with the fact that God’s story with me is one of incomparable and uncomparing love. That is enough.
© Text 2014 Paul Brownnutt
Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Today’s post was brought to you by Luke 18:9-14