I have been writing about the authority of Scripture the last couple days. I want to share something that happened yesterday afternoon in the locker room of the YMCA. I was getting changed to work out and I heard the sweet little voice of a young boy. He said, "Dad can I get a little help?" I turned and looked but saw no one. I heard the father say, "Where are you son?" and a moment later the dad appeared from behind a row of lockers and he began opening lockers nearer to me. First one, nothing, then another, and there he stood, a little boy of about four. With a big happy smile on his face he stepped out of his temporary prison. Soon he and his dad began discussing their lunch plans. The little guy wanted Taco Bell, but as they walked out the door it appeared he was over ruled.
What did that have to do with the Bible? First of all, when the father asked, "Where are you?" I heard echoes of the Scriptures, the Garden of Eden and the Father calling out, "Adam where are you?" In the plea of the child I heard the human situation, the most sincere prayer we ever make, "Dad can I get some help here?"
"Abba Father, Dad, I seem to have gotten myself in trouble here, can you get me out?" That is pretty much the OT story of Israel, over and over. It is my story and yours, too. Most of our problems are, in one way or another, of our own handiwork. We are in need of saving, redeeming, rescue, help, healing, and deliverance.
Something else that struck me was the contrast from the story I read about a week or so ago. In that story a woman was suing an airline because a steward had put her child in an overheard bin. Supposedly, the child had been so traumatized that for many months he was unable to sleep. I do not know what to think about all that, but I did find myself wondering about the lack of distress in the locker room child. Then it hit me, he knew the father was there. He knew, locked in this dark, tight space, that Dad was in reach, out there ready to save him. There was no panic, he had faith in Dad. He was saved by faith, he trusted his Dad and Dad delivered. He was also under Dad's authority. He was not going to eat at Taco Bell.
The Biblical narratives of Genesis, Exodus, Judges and the writings of Paul all made their appearance, uninvited and unexpected yet welcome, in my mind as this little event unfolded. The story of Jesus magically appeared with the word "Dad." And I had a close encounter with God through His revelation of Himself in Scriptures I have read and studied and a locker room conversation between a little boy and his young father. As I continue to wrestle with theological questions about the authority of the Bible, I want today's reflection to be one of the main points. God speaks to us in His Word. He speaks to us in locker rooms. God speaks, we need ears to listen. The Word is given to us for that encounter: A Holy, Eternal Dad and His little child, locked up in human frailties and need.