As we leave, I ask my four year old son, "Cayson, do you have your Jesus?”
This is his answer.
"Yes dad. He's in my back pocket".
It was Easter Sunday and I had a business meeting scheduled for 9:00 Monday morning. The problem was that the meeting was 5 hours away which meant I had to leave at 5:00 pm to make the drive. When we booked the meeting, we did not realize it was the Monday after Easter so I had no one to blame except myself.
But that doesn't mean I didn't take it out on someone else.
I left early in the morning for a 10 mile run. It has been a frustrating few weeks as I have battled a minor injury. Even though the injury is minor, it has kept me from putting in my normal training and mileage. You can learn more about why I run here.
This was going to be my last "long run" before my marathon the following weekend in Delaware. I left the house at around 6:00 and felt fine for most of the run until around mile 8 and the injury decided to join me. I was not happy. I was frustrated. I was mad.
Keep in mind that this is Easter Sunday…the most important day in the history of the Christian faith.
This is the day that Jesus rose from the grave; three days after he sacrificed himself on the cross for my sins...and for your sins.
As I returned to the house from my run, the kids were up and getting ready to eat breakfast. Shayla, my wife, asked our son Cayson, what he wanted to eat.
"Would you like cereal (he only likes wheat Chex or Life...he's picky)?"
"Would you like toast with jelly (he doesn't like peanut butter on toast but yet he eats PB&J's every day for school...remember, he's picky)?"
"Would you like a waffle (the easy frozen ones that you drop in the toaster)?"
"Would you like a toaster strudel (please don't judge that our kids eat pure sugar sometimes for breakfast. At least he only puts the frosting on about 50% of the time)?"
This is about the time that I jump in as the leader in the family and begin to yell at my 4 year old son who quite frankly is acting like a normal 4 year old and would rather play than eat breakfast.
What a great leader I am, huh? Here I stand, yelling at him about his breakfast. I proceed to tell him that he doesn't get to eat breakfast at all if he can't make up his mind.
Shayla then jumps into the conversation and in a very calm but yet stern voice, says this.
"Bryan, why don't you go and take a shower and get ready for church while I help the kids with breakfast."
Did I mention that it is Easter Sunday? It is the most glorious day in the history of the Christian faith.
I stomped away from the kitchen and into our bedroom. I was acting much more like a four year old rather than a 40 year old. Fine, I thought. I will go shower and Shayla can deal with Cayson this morning.
That's when it hit me. That's when the Holy Spirit literally brought me to my knees and eventually sitting in the middle of my closet on the floor with tears streaming down my cheeks. The weight of the past few months had caught up with me and I took it out on my beautiful little boy who did not deserve how I treated him.
I was tired. I was broken.
I had two choices. I could either proceed with the morning or I could humble myself and ask my son for forgiveness. I am thankful that I humbled myself and walked back into the kitchen.
With tears still streaming down my cheeks, I looked him in the eyes and said these four words.
Will you forgive me?
I will never forget what he said. He looked me back in the eyes and said, “daddy, I forgive you but please stop crying because you are going to make me cry”.
We hugged and told each other that we loved each other. We got ready for church and I was able to go and worship and celebrate Jesus with a forgiven spirit.
When we went to pick up Cayson from his class after church, he had a little plastic Jesus that all of the kids received in an Easter egg. He was tossing Jesus around with his friend Drake like any two boys would.
As we left church, I asked him, "Cayson, do you have your Jesus?”
"Yes dad. He's in my back pocket".
Hmmm. Jesus is in my back pocket. He meant that Jesus was LITERALLY in his back pocket. But it got me thinking about how often I put Jesus in my back pocket. Not literally but figuratively.
I will pull him out when I need him.
When things are going well, I tend to think I can function on my own with my own desires. This works for a while until the walls seem to be closing in and then I pull Jesus out of the back pocket.
Do you find yourself doing the same thing?
Unsure about what the future holds…I will pull Jesus out of the back pocket.
Going through a difficult season in a relationship…I will pull Jesus out of the back pocket.
Battling with temptation…I will pull Jesus out of the back pocket.
This frustrates me because I know from experience that unless I keep Jesus in front of me and my eyes on Him, the chaos of life catches up with me and I find myself overwhelmed with anxiety and stress.
I feel the tension when I keep Jesus in the back pocket.
I am easily stressed when I keep Jesus in the back pocket.
I tend to be isolated and not engaged with Shayla when I keep Jesus in the back pocket.
I yell at my 4 year old son when I keep Jesus in the back pocket.
Jesus does not want to be needed only in a time of emergency. He’s not a hallway fire alarm that sits behind a glass plate waiting only to be broken during a fire. He does not merely want to “be available” when needed.
After we left church, we spent the next couple of hours with Drake’s family at lunch. Because they could not seat all 9 of us, we had to split up into two booths. For any parent reading this, you know what I mean when I say…
It was a beautiful thing! Kids in one booth, adults in the other!
As the four of us are talking, we look over to the kids’ booth only to see Cayson and Drake playing with Jesus again. This time they are placing Jesus on the handle end of a fork and catapulting him across the table. I had to smile because while we were enjoying each other, the kids were enjoying each other. It was a great way to celebrate Easter with a family that is so close to our hearts.
Who knew that a little plastic figurine of Jesus would create so much enjoyment to a couple of young boys?
We went home and I finished packing for my Monday meeting. It was difficult to say goodbye to the family as it always is. As I looked back on the day that started with me on the closet floor, weeping because of the way I treated my little boy, I reflected on what I learned and how God used Cayson and his little Jesus figurine to remind me that Jesus is always with me.
Even when I put Jesus in my back pocket, He still is right there waiting me for to place Him at my right hand.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I will conclude with this question for you to think about.
Where is your Jesus? Is He in your back pocket?
Maybe in your situation, you feel like Jesus is so far away that He's not even in the closet let alone a chance of Him being in your back pocket. I want you to know that Jesus wants a relationship with you. No matter what you have done. No matter what you have experienced.
And no matter how many times you have turned your back on Him or left Him in your back pocket, Jesus still is pursuing you to have a relationship with you.
More of Jesus, less of me.