Not long ago I could tell something was out of sync with my son. He is thirteen now and I believe is coming to the rude awareness that his innocent elementary days are behind him. He is observing his friends who said they were Christians make hurtful choices that show they are not at least acting that way and he is trying to walk through the confusion that brings. That is a tough place. But something God is showing me is that this really is normal. So normal I need to anticipate that this occurrence would and will happen. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the entire school system disappoints us let alone our friendships in that system. There will always be the feeling for the children brought up since child birth in a Christ honoring home to sense that something is a little off in school. And that can be a major awakening, and one parents need to be prepared for.
The school system will never have what the Church has. My son said something to me when he was quite young that has stayed with me like a pondering of Mary’s own heart with her son Jesus. We were pastoring then and so it shouldn’t have seemed like such a surprise. It was just the insight my little boy had that shocked me as well as his verbal expression of it. We were going to the store and as we walked in I remember his looking around and seeing all of the people and after a few moments saying to me without turning towards me, “Dad, the people here don’t know us.” I didn’t understand then how huge that was. Years later I continue to unpack what was in the heart of such an observant child. And I think I am beginning to scratch the surface of that.
We were pastoring then and so my son was raised in a home well aware of the kingdom of God lived in community. Think about it. Every week we would go to the building across the lawn and see and be with people who ‘knew’ him. Focus on that word ‘knew’ and what that means. The same people week after week, perhaps with different methods but the same purpose—to meet for the sake of Jesus Christ and his story and discovering that our story is a part of the continuation of his. People shared, prayed for one another, sang, read the Bible story, and ‘knew’ each other. Every week my children were spoken to, greeted, recognized, smiled at, accepted, loved on, had hands extended to shake, welcomed into as being a part of, embraced. And so should it be any wonder that at a store with so many people where no one greeted you, but everyone was walking around us and past us and these elements experienced at our gatherings in another setting were entirely missing—that a little boy should make one the greatest observations a growing child of God can make in life—“These people don’t know me, dad. Something is different here. Something is missing.”
And so another time comes when a child of God is in the school system and notices at a rite of passage age, that people there are no longer as they seem. “Something isn’t right like I thought it was, dad. Something is different, and I am noticing it, don’t like it, and I am wondering what to do about it.” What are you going to say?
“You’re right son, it isn’t. You will never feel ‘at home’ at school for two major reasons—the school is a fallen system put in place by another fallen system in our world, the government, that is under a prince—the prince of this world. The school system that we have today seems like it is a lot of things that it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong—God has secret agents stationed at their posts in this fallen system, but the school will never offer you what the kingdom of God in the Church offers you. That feeling you have is normal—normal because it acts like a compass pointing you to the place our heavenly Father has prepared for you—a new world that’s coming and that you are a part of. That feeling that you have at school is much like the feeling you had years ago at the store—you long know and to be known, to belong, to represent, to feel that sense that you have a greater purpose to serve and were created for. That feeling will never be satisfied at school by those around you. But it can be created. And that is the next step in your journey.