I wanted to start off this morning by sharing a link to a video that a friend of mine shared with me. It shows a family doing a pretty good job of convincing their youngest daughter that she’d become invisible. You can view the video here.
So, what did you think? I should add that when it comes to a good practical joke, I’m all in. In fact, I have a fairly high threshold when it comes to practical jokes. Almost anything goes, as long as it doesn’t break the law. As a kid, practical joking was pretty much a way of life for me, my brother, and my sister. My brother is now with the Lord in heaven, so he can’t testify to this truth, but you could certainly ask my younger sister. She’d tell you just how hard it was for her to keep her Barbie dolls from being strapped to rockets and out of trees. And she’d affirm the terrorizing things my older brother did to me under the cover of darkness.
The point is, I have plenty of experience, both on the giving and receiving end of the mayhem. Even better, as a parent, such experience serves as a wellspring from which to sip when I’m in need of ideas for tormenting my own kids. Feel free to ask them, too.
But I’ll admit that the trick in this particular video bothered me a little. It was funny at first, but then I began to see and hear a palpable terror in a little one who had come to the realization that she was completely invisible to the people around her, namely her mother. In that brief moment between humor and fright, I realized something.
No one wants to be unseen to others. No one.
Sure, someone might say that he or she wants some alone time—a time to be invisible to the world. I get that. I feel that way sometimes. But that feeling comes and goes for various reasons, and some of those reasons, I’d guess, probably do emerge from the invisibility factor—the fact that so much of what we do and say and labor to accomplish is seen a certain way, and the rest of who we are is completely invisible to the ones standing right in front of us. Sometimes I need to get away from that.
From a different perspective, watching this video and admitting the shackles of a digital age—one full of smart phones and laptop computers and tablets—I wonder if we’re actually training ourselves to be so isolated from human contact that the only possible outcome is human invisibility.
I remember one evening this past summer having dinner with my family at Buffalo Wild Wings in Fenton. It was truly a time of joy just sitting together and laughing, talking about the details of each other’s lives, and just being the Thoma family. I remember leaning to Jennifer’s ear and whispering to her about my growing discontent with another little family a few booths away. It was a young couple with an infant child in a high chair. Both parents had their faces locked to the screens of their smart phones while the child sat there staring into nothingness. There was no interaction whatsoever with the child, and none between the parents. I concluded that this must be normal for them, because if they were so willing to display this in public, they most certainly lived this way in private.
I fear that child is at this very moment growing up invisible to the ones who matter, and this invisibility is because the time with the digital devices are more important to the parents.
Psalm 127:3 reminds us that children are a heritage and blessing for the Lord. Even more so, take note that whenever anything is happening in the Old Testament involving God giving blessings to His people, children are almost always ushered to the front of the line. In the New Testament, there’s no shortage of joy for children. Jesus Christ declares a great love for the little ones in Mathew 18 when He heralds their great value to our Heavenly Father. He does this again in the very next chapter when He rebukes the disciples for not permitting the children to be close to Himself. In John 21, before the Lord’s command to Peter to take care of His sheep, He first implores, “Feed my lambs.”
Children are by no means invisible to the Savior.
My hope for you today is that you would behold your little ones—no matter their age—and see them as the Lord sees them. He gave them to you because He loves you. He gave you to them because He loves them, too. That’s an incredible bit of information that, thankfully, was not left to the realms of invisibility, but rather was revealed by God’s Word for the benefit of His world, namely the wonderful underpinning of society known as “family.”
By the way, do you want to know one of the best ways to strengthen your family? Go to church.
You knew I was going to say that eventually, didn’t you?
Yes, worship together. Sing the hymns. Kneel in prayer. Listen to the Word and preaching. Approach the altar and gather together with other families to receive the gifts of grace in the Lord’s Supper. Be strengthened and then sent out by God’s holy benediction to be His Christian families in a world that truly needs the stability provided by the bright beaming light of His love through you.