12 July 2012

Bubbles, Play Dough, and Predestination

I put J1 in the tub last night and added a generous squirt of baby shampoo so he could have a bubble bath. He was transixed. So fluffy! So bubbly! He tried holding the bubbles, grabbing the bubbles, collecting the bubbles, but no dice. They didn't act like water or dirt or sand or anything else. They were bubbly.

This weekend J1 got to play with homemade play dough. I was working in the kitchen--near, but not involved--and spend a minute or so watching him. He pulled. He made little bits. He tried to get all of it off his fingers. He held it up in the air. All this time he was talking to the dough, making sound effects. It doesn't act like dirt or sand or scrambled eggs or cheese. It's doughy.


About 10 years ago I asked God to teach me about predestination. I'm a good Calvinist, so of course I believe in predestination. It's Biblical, and I long to give the Bible authority in my life in everything. So I trust God and trust the Bible's teaching, but that doesn't mean I understand it...or even that I always like it. It really doesn't seem fair. Does God really set some aside to be His people and set others aside to be eternally damned? Can God really do that? How does that glorify Him best? These questions knock around in my head and heart whenever I run across passages that teach this tricky doctrine. (This happens often, because these passages are sprinkled throughout.) Finally, in my early 20s, I asked God to please, please, help me understand about this mysterious teaching. I want to understand. I want to believe. I want to know. I want peace.

Constantly trying to understand was robbing my peace. I set my mind to trusting God to teach me in his own time.

Fast-forward. (Haha, remember the Yada-Yada Seinfeld episode? So much is skipped in the "yada yada yada." I've had a lot of lessons learned in the intervening 10 years!) I have a toddler who's bright, observant, intelligent. He grasps new concepts so quickly. I hardly have to show him something but that he remembers it and applies it to the next thing there is to learn. He can do step-by-step tasks. He's amazing. But the bubbles and the play dough astound him.

I could explain them to him. "The soap works with the water to increase the surface tension of the water, and the agitation of the water coming out of the tub faucet aerates the water. Hence, bubbles." And for play dough: "The acid in the cream of tartar works with the flour and the water to make gluten. The protein in the flour strings together into long chains. A polymer is formed (you know, like Silly Putty). The salt is sharp and cuts the glutens before they get too long and render the dough solid. The oil serves to soften the whole thing so it's pleasant to squish."

But please. My 16 month old can't understand such talk. It's clear to you or me--adults--but a baby can't grasp that kind of thought. So I don't tell him. I just let him play. Splash, son! Make bubbles! Increase your gross motor coordination! Squish, son! Develop your fine motor skills and your dexterity and your finger strength! Play on!

God says in Isaiah, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways." His way is a cut above ours, just as my ways are a cut above J1's. As I don't burden J1 with overly technical and incoprehensible (to him) explanations of simple things like bubbles and play dough, so God does not burden me with incomprehensible explanations of His secret, simple things.
::Hell and heaven.
::The roles of men and women in the home and in the church.
These are all on the edge of my ability, but true comprehension of them are impossible for me, just as polymeric formation and surface tension are beyond my dear boy's comprehension.

This knowledge brings me peace. I am free to enjoy what I do understand.

Thank you, Lord, for making me a parent. I know you, your Father-heart so much better now.


Bud said...

I think you have the essence of the true religion, Krista. Very good article.

Bud said...

I think you have discovered the essence of reverent thinking, Krista. God bless you.