Listen as a teenager chats with his Heavenly Father.
He pushed up instinctively through layers of morning drowsiness. – “Eh?”
A glance around yielded no clue as to what had jerked him out of his reverie on the comfortable edges of sleep, so he lay back and listened.
He shot to his feet and reconnoitered the room for hidden speakers. Then he looked at the date on his watch. It wasn’t April 1st, but still he wondered which of his family or more mischievous teenage friends was behind this rather elaborate leg-pull.
No-one was there, and he couldn’t find any mechanical source for the sound.
The voice seemed very familiar, but he couldn’t place the person speaking. It wasn’t any of his family, or anyone else who might use the word in such a familiar way.
The sound did not have the quality of something reproduced through a speaker, and strangely it wasn’t from any particular direction. It seemed more like a “loud thought.”
He had a vague feeling that this was more than a joke, but he didn’t want to appear gullible, so he sat back on the bed and smiled, shrugged and raised his hands in surrender.
“O.K., you got me, I give in, the joke’s on me! – who are you?”
“I have quite a lot of names, but you can call me ‘Dad!’”
“Try me with some names,” he said warily. “I’ve never held a conversation with a disembodied voice before, and I need to get my bearings.”
“Well …. How about a few of the formal ones, like ‘Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Sovereign, Omnipotent, Eternal Spirit… there was a pause to let it all sink in … Do you get the picture now, Ben?”
Ben listened in a growing panic, which mixed with equally mounting confusion and threatened to paralyze his ability to respond.
Suddenly he was aware of a sort of wave of relaxation and tranquil peace that flooded into him. It felt like a hand on his shoulder and a soundless whisper-
“Hey, take it easy, Son, – It’s OK!”
Still frightened, but somehow enabled to continue, he managed to mumble a hesitantly hoarse whisper.
“It had better be ‘Dad’, then, if that’s OK with You.”
“That’s my boy. It’s good to talk, and I’ve waited for this for quite a long time.”
“But why me? um …. Dad, – why now?”
“Well actually you started things off last night.”
“I did?” Then suddenly Ben remembered that the evening before he had been watching a Christian TV, and had been so moved by the guy’s talk that he had, [under his breath in embarrassment because of others in the room], repeated a short prayer of personal commitment to Jesus.
“Just one short prayer and You turn up? Wow!”
“The prayer was short, but you really meant it, and that’s all I need to start to get to hang out with you.”
“How do You know I really meant it?”
“I was listening to your heart more than your whisper.”
“Yes – er – Dad!” The vigorous hair towelling stopped and Ben lifted the curtain it formed over his face to look at his misty image in the bathroom mirror.
“Don’t stop, we can talk as you get ready.”
“Aren’t I supposed to kneel down and put my hands together, or something?”
“You can if you like, but you’d probably be late for the school bus – again!”
“Right, – um – what shall we talk about?”
“You choose, – ask Me something, – anything!”
Ben took advantage of not having to actually talk in the conversation, as thinking seemed to work just as well, and automatically went to work with his toothbrush as he framed a question.
“Ok – You made me, right?”
“Then why did I get skinny, freckled and ginger when my brother Dan is tall, dark and handsome?”
“You often think that when you look in that bathroom mirror, don’t you! – The guy that coined the saying, ‘the grass is greener the other side of the hill’ hit on a common human fault. Would it help you to know Dan envies you just as much for your good grades, confidence, and the way you get on with people so easily?”
“Well, anyway, the fact is how you are put together pretty much suits the things I want us to do together later, and the same goes for him.”
“So we’re just bit-players, chess pieces in Your great masterplan.” – “You call me son, but I’m just a humble pawn, and to make it worse, Dan’s a knight in shining armour!”
“Absolutely not, all My sons and daughters are kings and queens on the chessboard of My plans and arrangements for the future.”
“Now You’re really kidding – everyone knows you’ve got to be born a royal, and as far as I know I wasn’t.”
“Actually you were! – it happened last night when you reached out to Me for help. I reached out, too, and made a kind of umbilical connection to your spirit, and straightaway started to share My life with you. I mentioned earlier this morning that among many other things I’m actually the King of Kings and from that first contact I began to call you ‘son’, so what does that make you?”
“Royal, I suppose.”
As Ben dressed for school, he noticed a book that had fallen out of his schoolbag. It was the bible loaned him by a school friend. In fact, she’d had recommended the TV programme he was watching when he prayed the prayer the man had dictated the night before. He picked it up and opened it, thinking.
“Annie lent me a Bible. I wonder why it’s so important.”
“It’s full of the way I think, and full of the way people live their lives, and full of the way I think about the way people live their lives, – reading it often will help us get on a wavelength a bit more quickly if we’re going to get close.”
“It was just a passing thought, not a question, Dad. – Are You going to chip in every time I have an idle thought?”
“No, I’ll not overload you with stuff, but that one was pretty important, so I took the opportunity to recommend a good book! – Now get a move on, the bus will be on time today!”
“How do You kn… – Oh, never mind.”
You know what I’m thinking, don’t You?”
“All of it?”
“Well, we’ve made a start, Ben, but right now you had better hit the shower or you’ll miss the bus and be late for College again.”
“Couldn’t I skip school today and just talk some more?”
“We can talk in the shower, ………………. and on the bus!”
God’s voice was a perfect duet with Mum’s shout from the bottom of the stairs.
“The bus is pretty full upstairs, Ben, – sit here where we can chat on the way to school.”
“Oh! – er – OK – er – why? I usually go upstairs where I can talk with my friends.”
“Well, son, you said you wanted to talk, and you may not be used to talking to me and other people at the same time, at least not yet. Stay down here today, and we’ll share a moment or two alone.”
“OK, Dad! So what will we talk about?”
“As we’re on the subject, what about talking to friends. – Have you thought of how you’ll tell them about ‘US’?”
“Not really. – In fact not at all. – What shall I say? Do I say I met You? or heard You? or started to hang out with You? Or just woke up and You were there?”
“Just say what comes naturally at the time. And it’s very important that you start getting used to telling people about you and Me. Just try to avoid the two extremes of saying nothing at all, or going overboard, and stridently bending everybody’s ear like some religious nut!”
“To be honest, Dad, this privilege of calling You Dad, and sharing and experiencing life together is such a big deal, I can understand people who want to shout and share and twitter and blog it from every rooftop they can.”
“That’s true, but it can get a bit selfish. – What we really want is the ‘fruit’ of others discovering what we’ve got – in other words more people to join the Family. Unfortunately, the attitudes and mind-sets of people today tend to be wary of cults, pressure groups and extremism in any religion. A wiser approach, and the best way forward is for us to work together”.
“How do we go about that?”
“I’ll give you a gentle nudge when an opportunity arises, like when someone asks a question, or makes a suggestion, and you can let them know you’re with Me! That’s the way I worked with Annie. She lent you a bible and recommended you watch the Christian TV channel, after you asked what religion her Anglo-Indian family followed. Just think of how you would have reacted if she had started preaching at you about sinners and hell fire!”
“I’d have run a mile!”
Ben was looking out of the bus window at the passing countryside. It was especially attractive. It had rained overnight, and in the morning sunlight everything seemed extra bright in the rain-washed air.
Ben turned from the window and found that Annie had just got on the bus, and was kneeling in the seat in front of him, regarding him thoughtfully, her folded arms resting on the back of the seat. A knowing glint came into her brown eyes, and a slow smile spread across her face.
“You watched the preacher, didn’t you! – and you prayed the prayer!”
“H – How did you know — Oh. – He told you didn’t He!”
Annie wrinkled her nose without losing the grin.
“In a way, – sort of, – anyhow – Ben, welcome to the Family!”
Annie solemnly held up her hand for Ben’s high five.
“There you go, son, that takes care of telling someone about US for the first time.”
MORE CHAPTERS SOON….