The Parable of The Marbles
I was talking with a couple of Dads this week, one who was remembering some trials with his little girl. He recalled that in the middle of a temper tantrum she jumped tracks, lifted her eyes, and said, “I look in the sky and I don’t see God!” Dad was excited for the chance to dig in, to have a meaningful talk about why we can’t see God, and what the Bible says, but after a few sentences he had the feeling it was going right over her head. He wondered if she was even paying attention or if any of his words sunk in. I smiled because I had just experienced a perfectly timed, great little nugget of encouragement for him.
Just the night before my own daughter, now 19, had been gone for several days and finally returned home. We were having a nice supper, and we got to reminiscing. She said to me, “Dad, you always had such a way of painting and teaching, with these great analogies like parables, and I’ll never forget them.” “Really?” I said. “Oh yes. Like the one about the marbles! It was amazing!” She beamed. “Marbles? You remember that?” Because I didn’t. I had totally forgotten my own ‘amazing’ parable.
“Yes!” She was more excited telling me now than I’m sure I was back then. “You were trying to teach us about the Gospel and Heaven, and how important it is that we have it right. We can start off just a half of bubble off, thinking we’ve got it all figured out. And, at first, it even looks like we do. But then time goes on, and before you know it, you’re MILES off course. Then, you took 2 marbles and rolled them together at the same time across the kitchen table. One marble went straight as an arrow, but the other, just a little off, drifted and drifted until eventually, it fell right off the table. All I remember was that my mind was blown! It was a perfect picture, and I’ve never forgotten that.” It made my night. She must have been about 4 or 5 years old when I gave her that little 'parable'.
I told this young Dad, “Just be encouraged. You might be thinking it was over her head or the point was lost, but it isn’t. They remember. I know I thought the same thing, many times.”
Afterward, we stopped to pray, and he started off with, “Lord, thank you for these men. In my mind, I don't know, I just see these marbles…”