When We’re Scared and Lying

Tim Dilena

When my youngest one was small, it was one of those Saturdays. We hadn’t gone to the grocery store, so everybody that day was asking, "What are we having for lunch?" Everybody was getting peanut butter sandwiches. That was it. If you're a good parent, that's what you do. So we've lined them up on the table. One child was outside; two kids were in the basement; my youngest, Lauren, was in the kitchen.

I leave to get the other kids, then I came back in the kitchen, and every sandwich had a hole in the middle, a hole the size of a tiny finger, every one of them. I asked, "Lauren, where did those holes come from?”

She immediately said, “Christian did it.”

“Well, Christian's outside. Who put the holes in the sandwiches?”

“Anna and Grace.”

“They're in the basement. They couldn't have done it. Lauren, I’ll give you one more time, and then you're going to get a spanking.” We didn't do timeouts.

Without missing a beat, she said, “Jesus! Jesus came.”

“You're telling me that Jesus came out of heaven to put his finger into everyone's sandwiches then ascended back to heaven?” I just looked at my little three-year daughter and said, “Liar.”

What's crazy is when we get scared, we get dumb; and when we get dumb, we tend to blame Jesus when our trials are really a test that he's bringing us through. You start interpreting ‘hard’ as God fighting against you when it's actually God teaching us something.

Think about this for a second with Job. He just lost 10 children. His home was gone. His prosperity was gone. He had an angry wife. He had nothing, and his body was filled with disease. He was angry at God. He shaved his head. He was made-himself-bald level of angry. On the other side, though, he said, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6, ESV).

Don’t blame God. If you misinterpret the bitter and all you do is pursue after sweet, then life has no meaning. God loves you and says, "Let me take the ingredients from past, present, and future and bring those together.” What he has on the other side of this struggle is something so much greater than anything you could ever create.

After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.