I thought I'd get a little creative today and share a little story . . .
by Tricia Goyer
(told by John Goyer)
I was sixteen, almost a man, and there was something I had been keeping from my father for a very long time. The thought of hurting his feelings had kept a complaint on the tip of my tongue. What would he say?
"Dad?" I said, my anxious eyes looking into his. "I didn't want to hurt your feelings, but . . ." I took a deep breath as he tilted his head, waiting for my words.
I decided to go for it. "You know how you've only bought Spumoni ice-cream all these years? Well, none of us kids like it. We hate all those little candied fruits. We always dreamed of double-decker sundae, rocky road, or even vanilla, but every time it was spumoni. We couldn't confess, Dad. We knew you like it. But since I'm am adult now, I decided I might as well tell you."
My dad grinned. Soon deep laughter erupted. My mouth dropped open at his unexpected response.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
Between fits of chuckles he managed to say, "I never liked spumoni either! I got it for you kids. I thought you liked it!"
My laughter joined his, but deep down I was troubled. I couldn't believe it. It horrified me. We ate spumoni all these years and no one liked it! Yuck! I made up my mind right then and there that I would always be truthful. Well, at least I would try.
So I started trying the truth thing. I even tried to say honest prayers instead of repeating memorized phrases. It worked for a while. Until . . .
It hadn't been that great of a day. Nothing had gone right. That night as I lay in bed, I knew I should pray, but I didn't know what to say. Should I be honest and tell God that I felt He had totally abandoned me. I couldn't do that. Could I?
"God," I finally said, "thank you for my health and . . . " I paused for a moment. "Thank you that when I slipped in the parking lot in front of all my friends I didn't rip my jeans."
I turned over and tried to sleep but images of candied cherries danced rings around my headboard. I took it as a hint Someone knew I wasn't being truthful.
"Okay, God," I finally mumbled. "I'm not being totally honest. I feel like Alexander in the storybook Mom used to read me when I was younger. It's been ‘a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day.’ The only difference is Alexander was only a little kid, and if he got peanut butter in his hair it would wash out the next day. But when I forgot the English report that was due, I lost my Big Mac money, and almost got in a wreck during driver’s ed, I'd say things are pretty lousy. Couldn't you have cut me some slack and intervened a little?"
It was almost as if God spoke down from Heaven. "You didn't get in an accident did you?"
I felt better knowing that even though God hadn't kept me from embarrassment, He had kept me safe. I rolled over in bed, this time with true thankfulness in my heart. Yes, it does help to be honest with your Father.
Well, despite all the trouble I had during driver’s ed, I finally got my license. Boy, did I have fun after that. I could drive to work and drive to school. Best of all, I could drive to the baseball games, to the shooting range and my even friend's house any time I wanted. My mom and dad complained they never saw me, but, hey, I've been around for sixteen years, you'd think they'd be sick of me.
Everything was great until a few weeks later when I was on my way home from Max's house. We just had an all-night Fear Factor marathon, and I was wiped. Since Max lived way out in the country, I was looking ahead to a twenty-minute drive home. I popped in my P.O.D. cd, hoping it would keep me awake. It did, but that still didn't stop the deer from jumping out in front of me. Frantically, I jerked my wheel, my car spun off the road and into a ditch. "Oh great," I mumbled.
After twenty minutes of trying to get my car out of the ditch I gave up.
"God," I finally said, "help."
And then, as if God was speaking to me from Heaven and across the dark clouds gathering in the sky, a thought crossed my mind. You talk to God when you're in trouble, but what about all the other times? Like when you were at school or work or the baseball game.
I had cut off communication. Didn't I learn anything from the spumoni incident? Communication is key.
"You're right, Father. I've been keeping the words to myself. I don't need to worry about what You think. I don't need to get older before I have enough guts to tell You how I feel. I just need to take time to communicate with You. You're here for me. You understand. Best of all, I'll never, never have to hide that fact that I don't like spumoni. You already know, and I'm sure you'll make candied cherries off-limits in Heaven."
Well, after that honest prayer, I discovered God has a sense of humor too. Within minutes a large white truck came to my rescue. An ice cream truck to be exact. Soon, the ice-cream guy had chained my car to his truck and pulled me of the ditch. It wasn't until the truck was pulling away that I noticed the picture on the back. It showed a young boy with a huge fruit-dotted ice-cream cone. Only two words covered the back doors, "REMEMBER SPUMONI?"
OK, so maybe there will be Spumoni in heaven, but not in my bowl, please.