The Pain of Passing Through

My son asked me a strange question at lunch yesterday.

“Why don’t we have any girl men?”

How does one answer a question like that?  Why would my son ask a question like that?  Who told him about Lady Gaga?

I was relieved to find out that he was talking about his army men.  He had just finished taking inventory of these little plastic warriors and observed that they were all men.

He had to know why there were no ladies.

“Well, son, your toy men are mainly used for fighting and ladies don’t need to be fighting.”

That’s when he told me that they could cook.

Hopefully the United States Department of Gender Oneness wasn’t listening in on that conversation.

My son wasn’t making a crude joke.  To him, a woman that cooks is just as noble as a man that fights for his country.

This didn’t bother my wife at all.  In fact, I think that she was kind of proud.

“Our boys are going to grow up with some very traditional values,” she said.

I agreed and then I thought about how much that is going to make them stick out.  They are, after all, growing up in a completely different world than the one I did.

In a lot of ways, that’s not such a bad thing.  For one, maybe they won’t hear openly racist comments from church leaders and people who claim to be Christians.

But in a lot of ways the thought of the world that they are growing up in is scaring me to death.

I grew up in a world where men stood on principles.  They are growing up in a world where principles are placed to the side for the sake of winning.

I grew up in a world where the Russians were the bullies on the international block and would stop at nothing to demonstrate their power, even over their own people.  They are growing up in a world where the United States has assumed that role.

I grew up in a world of dumb blondes.  Every sitcom had one.  They are growing up in a world where the man has become the new dumb blonde.

I grew up in a free country.  One where I could move around the airport as I pleased without being constantly monitored or questioned.  It’s strange when you think about it.  I was a kid in 1984.  So are my sons.

I grew up in a world where debt, although common, was seen as foolish.  They are growing up in one where it is the new national pastime.

I’m supposed to settle down, right?  This world is not my home.  A better one awaits.

I’ve seen naked babies sitting on the side of busy, dirty roads in an African slum.  I’ve seen a large Romanian family use a hole in their backyard as a toilet commode.  I drove through some of the worst poverty I have ever seen on my way to my Jamaican honeymoon resort.

I didn’t belong in any of those places.  After a few days, I got to go back to where I came from.  But it still hurts to see destruction, even if it’s not in your home.

My citizenship is not here.  A better home awaits.  I have great hope in that.  But I also mourn.  I mourn because destruction is no longer on the way.  It’s waiting outside at the front door.

I’m probably not in a position to change the world since I don’t hold a public office or have millions of listeners but I will train up my boys in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

I will teach them that there is a profound difference between a right and a privilege.

I will teach them that standing up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone and even if people tell you that you, “contribute to the destruction of America,” is better than caving in to popular opinion, pragmatism or groupthink.

I will teach them to look up to men who love Jesus and who know what real masculinity is.

I will teach them that the Church matters, even if its influence has waned.  The gates of hell shall not prevail.

I will teach them how to treat a woman.

If they listen to what I’m telling them, the world is going to view them as a couple of strange characters.  This will be hard for them at some point so that’s when I’ll teach them that they’re not really living unless a few people are mad at them for something they believe in.

By this time in their lives they’ll already know that Jesus stood out.  They’ll know that he was crucified in a world that was not his home.  They’ll know that the same fate could await them.

And they’ll know that the pain of passing through this world is preparing them for the joy that awaits them in the next.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)