This past week, our message board read, “What did You do to Grow Closer to Christ Today?”
Each time we walked in the door, there was the sign, a visible reminder that each day we must work to grow closer to Christ. It doesn’t just happen because we go about our day working, exercising or chilling out in front of the TV. We have to make a conscious effort to do something to grow in our relationship with Christ.
This week was a difficult week at work and with my dad. I reflected on what Christ did for us, suffering and dying in the cross for us and it helped me carry on through my week.
My dad did another round of chemo this week. Each time I called to check in, he turned the conversation around to his anger with me. I took a deep breath and remembered that Christ suffered much worse than insults spewed forth from the mouths of those who hate him.
I spoke to my dad last night and asked how his appointment went. He told me a little bit and I thought, “Oh, maybe this conversation will be okay.” No dice.
In an attempt to turn the conversation to something benign, I asked him what he was watching on the TV I could hear in the background. Wrong question. He started telling me how he was watching MSNBC, then launched into politics. Oi vey.
My parents and I have never seen eye to eye on politics. It’s a subject I try to avoid, but my dad ALWAYS manages to bring it into the conversation. Sighs. I tried to diffuse his anger by saying, “I don’t care who you voted for. You are intelligent and did your research just as I did mine.”
He said, “You’re an educated idiot.” I’ve heard THAT all my life. No, really, I have. He snapped this at me and then told me not to call him again for three weeks. I’m not entirely sure where he pulled three weeks from, but I do know he’ll be even angrier if I don’t call to check in. I can’t win for losing.
What does my phone conversation have to do with growing closer to Christ? Jesus is the only reason I try to help my father. The only reason. It is hard to stand in the face of his insults day in and day out. Christ puts up with me, my weaknesses and my flaws, so I’m trying to do the same with my dad.
I keep hoping and praying that he will let go of his bitterness and anger toward me before he dies. I don’t think it’s likely, but I still believe in miracles. God can change my dad’s heart in an instant. I won’t lose hope.
Some days I feel like I make great strides in my walk with Christ. Other days, I feel like I’ve taken a few steps in the wrong direction. Most days, however, I make some little, almost imperceptible movement in the right direction and slowly find myself closer to Jesus. I often remind myself of the Turtle and the Hare, slow and steady wins the race!