“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
— Matthew 7:7
I’m infected by a host of baked-in predispositions about life. That’s because I am a male, white (actually, more like a faded pinkish-beige), macho baby boomer. When facing adversity of any kind, my knee-jerk reaction is to “suck it up,” get stoic and bear it all silently without complaining — all by myself.
The Lone Ranger has nothing on me. After all, I’m a man, and real men don’t cry, nor do they ever, EVER ask for help. That would be “weak.” Right?
But we Christian men have found a way of getting around having to dissolve into a blubbering, weak-kneed heap on the floor when something scary happens to them. When they go to a Bible study or men’s lunch club, they say something like, “Hey guys, could you pray for me, I’m going in to have a growth in my throat biopsied?” And voila, we get sympathy without appearing exposed and needy.
Now don’t misunderstand, that health stuff’s scary and as we age, there is more of it to deal with. We want people to pray for us, of course. But many times, we need God “with skin on Him.” To feel His arms around us, to hear His voice, to see His tears — through others.
But we men are too afraid to ask for that, so we go for the arms-length option of requesting “prayer assistance.”
What I’m Really Saying
Truth be known, when this happens to me, I’m silently screaming: “I’m scared, really scared, and I need a hug. But I can’t say it that way because when I tried something like that in kindergarten, I got laughed off the playground for months.”
I recall that, when expressing how they truly felt, girls got a group hug, while boys got a mob thrashing they would never forget. Lessons like that get laser-engraved in a young, pliable heart and are never, ever repeated. Kids can be cruel.
But, when we really find ourselves “up against it,” the social pressures go out the window.
In one of the most wrenching scenes in the movie, Saving Private Ryan, amid the dizzying action of combat on Omaha Beach, a dying Marine is lying on the blood-soaked sand with his intestines pouring out, screaming, “Mommy, Mommy!” Would anyone dare call that hero a sissy?
That same primal cry rises in countless men’s hearts but is quickly stuffed back down. A lifetime of “stuffing” produces a stoic, manufactured “hero” who has long since lost touch with his inner child.
We see it all the time in military veterans, first responders and anyone who has been subjected to prolonged trauma, particularly victims of sexual abuse. That’s why such people end up in depression, addictions, divorce, violent behavior, even suicide to medicate the deep soul-pain.
But there is a way back from the brink, IF you are willing to lay down the masks and get real with God. It’s safe to get vulnerable with God, you know.
“For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, ‘I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.’”
— Matthew 18:2-5
That “inner child” that I mentioned before resides in the breast of every man (and woman, too, of course). This subpersonality is the seat of your emotions, feelings, fears, affections, etc. It is the most precious part of you, and often the most wounded by the trials of life.
He (the child you) is also the one with whom Jesus wants to connect. In fact, your inner child is your connection to the Kingdom of Heaven at its deepest level.
How About You?
Need a hug? Is life getting a little scary for you? When Jesus walked this earth, it’s interesting who ran toward Him and felt most comfortable and safe with Him. Children flocked to Him, so did “sinners,” broken and disenfranchised peasants. The proud, powerful and those with a lot to lose stayed away.
If you will open up and be vulnerable, God has a big hug reserved for you that will last for all eternity.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
— Luke 12:32
— D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information, or contact him at email@example.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.