Have you ever noticed when adults talk to babies they lose their minds? We talk to them in some of the most embarrassing ways like we are children too? We speak words we would never speak to another adult or even children who are a little older. Even our tone changes when we are speaking to children. It is soft and soothing (or at least we hope it is.) We baby talk our babies.
When Elijah wanted a snack, those little baby cookies or an animal cracker he would say he wanted a “go go.” I have no idea where he came up with that word but he did. One of my nieces used to call hot dogs “dadogs.” Another niece called grasshoppers “hoppergrasses.”
I am not making fun of the way children speak. They are just learning. The amazing thing to me is that adults pick it up too. If Elijah was acting hungry I would ask if he wanted a go go. If my niece was hungry I was ask her if she wanted a dadog. If we were outside and saw a grasshopper I would ask the other niece if she saw that hoppergrass.
As adults we even encourage this type of speaking. We call bottles bobbies. We call pacifiers passies. There is nothing wrong with that as far as I know. We have just developed a way to speak to our children in terms they can understand and tones that show our love. That is our loving parent voice.
Parents also have another voice too. I call mine the daddy voice. This voice is reserved for special occasions. You parents know those occasions. They are when our children are doing something we do not want to do.
Suddenly all the childish words are gone. The tone is no longer soft. We try to project authority into our voice so our children know we are serious when we say no. We want them to respect that voice. We even want them to fear that voice a little.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Genesis 3:8-10 KJV
When God created Adam and then Eve they had no fear of his voice. When they sinned against God his voice took a different tone. Or at least it sounded different to their ears. It was no longer a voice of tenderness calling them to fellowship. It was now a voice of retribution calling them to judgment. God did not need to do anything other than speak to them for them to know they were in trouble.
It was not God’s desire for Adam and Eve to fear him. He wanted them to love him and he was prepared to love them in return. But they had done something he had told them not to do. Not only had they done something that he had forbidden they had done something that turned out to be to their eternal detriment.
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Ephesians 1:6 KJV
I pastor a small church. In my mind all the church members, in fact all saved people everywhere, are family by the blood of Christ that unites us. But in this particular church we have a lot of natural family members too. We have grandparents, children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren. Of course that means we also have in-laws.
In-laws get a bad name in our society I am afraid. I know there are bad in-laws out there, the dreaded beast of a mother-in-law and the overbearing father-in-law. In my case, however, I can honestly say (no they don’t blog so I am not getting any points for saying this!) that my in-laws are great. I hope my wife can say the same.
Be that as it may I was preaching on the aforementioned verse of scripture one day and I as using the stereotypical hated in-laws relationship as an example. I had pointed out that parents-in-law often have little influence or input into who their prospective son-in-law is. Then I went on point out that if you love your daughter, though, you will have to accept the son-in-law too. He might not be what you wanted. He might not even be good but because of your daughter you will accept him.
I could tell the sermon was having a good effect on some of the people. In fact, one of the deacons seemed particularly touched. I could tell the Lord was driving home the point by his Holy Spirit far better than my words could have alone. When I mentioned you might even hate your son-in-law but you will accept him because you love your daughter he let out a big AMEN! The moment he did so I happened to be looking at his son-in-law who is also a member of the church. As you might imagine the son-in-law was a little taken aback to hear his father-in-law agreeing so forcefully with the idea that you could hate your son-in-law for who he was but love him because of who he belonged to.
Now in the deacons defense he knew where I was headed with the message. He had seen already that I wasn’t really concerned about loving the in-laws, though this is good thing. I was illustrating how our relationship to the Heavenly Father is based not on our good works, which are as filthy rags, but because we belong to Jesus who has purchased us with his own blood.
Still I have to admit, it was pretty funny. I did make sure the son-in-law understood his father-in-law was agreeing with our standing in the Lord and not His standing in the family.
Which brings us to Mr. Cowfish. Like every parent today I found my house invaded by toys even before our son arrived. It’s like there’s been an avalanche on toy mountain and all the ice and snow has buried our living room. I am thankful people love us and our son, don’t get me wrong. But if we get many more toys I will have to open a ToysRUs in my garage.
There are some of Elijah’s toys I like better than others. You parents know the ones I am talking about, the ones that don’t make noise! I knew when my wife was buying noisy toys for every child she ever gave a gift to that the day would come when I would regret it. That day has come!
Most of Elijah’s toys stay in the house, as you might imagine. But there is one that goes in the car. We call him Mr Cowfish. I don’t know where Mr Cowfish came from. I don’t know who made him. I don’t know who conceived the idea of a creature like Mr. Cowfish.
Mr Cowfish, the very apt name my wife gave this particular toy, is part cow and part fish. He has a body shaped like a fish but is white with black spots like a cow. If you squeeze him he moos! Which only makes sense if you want a toy that makes noise because outside of Finding Nemo I don’t think fish make noise.
Mr Cowfish rides in the car almost all of the time. The only time he doesn’t ride in the car is when he jumps out of the car, which I will get to in my next blog…