Disclaimer: I’m chewing on this concept. This is a blog, not a a theological tome. I think your expectations will match the content.
Once a ponce a time – last week – the weather was perfect and the kids were driving us crazy, so JJ took them to the park. Correction: he took half of them. The baby isn’t really into the park yet (and JJ couldn’t carry him) and Lady C… well, that’s the point of this post.
“Go potty and put on your boots and you can go with Daddy to the park,” I said no less than 27 million times. With reminders. Go potty. Hurry up, daddy’s ready to leave. Let’s go potty. And yet, she refused. So when the van pulled away she learned yet another lesson on listening to mommy and daddy. She chippered up relatively quickly and helped me make dinner.
Then I made the mistake of going to the bathroom. Of course, since she had not went earlier, she wanted to join me. And then she pranced out of the bathroom (she rarely does anything without prancing) and put on her boots and coat. She opened the door and couldn’t find daddy.
|She’s going to thank me for this picture someday.|
She believed that when she was ready, Daddy would be there waiting on her to take her to the park. True, the offer was “if you go potty and put on your boots, you can go with daddy to the park.” She just didn’t realize Daddy wasn’t going to wait to the detriment of the other 2 kids buckled in the car.
When things don’t work out for us in life, it’s tempting to make God the mean daddy who didn’t wait for you to put on your boots when you were asked. Note: asked repeatedly. Encouraged. Spoken to with love and care. Warned. Exhorted.
We open up the door to the garage and see that the car has left and we missed the trip to the park. But it’s not because God had the departure time wrong – it’s because of our own stubbornness. It’s a trip to the park – not the dentist – so our driver generously invites us along but doesn’t force us into the car seat, kicking and screaming.
And God doesn’t stop the world from turning while we learn. Other children get to enjoy the ride while we get our act together and, yes, that’s completely fair. This makes God seem like quite the stick-in-the-mud, doesn’t it? So… inflexible. Unreasonable.
But God’s generosity isn’t found in giving us what we want, when we want it. It’s found in his willingness to allow us to participate in his action with the world. We get to ride along. We’re invited. That’s the grace. That’s the gift. Putting the offer on our timetable simply because we’re just not into listening to instructions pretty much says, “mmm, thanks but no thanks.”
Fortunately, we have a God that returns from the trip to the park and promises a new offer tomorrow. The park isn’t closed forever and missing one trip doesn’t exclude us from a future of slides and swings. Yesterday’s stubbornness doesn’t count against tomorrow’s plans.
So after an afternoon of fighting and ignoring instructions, if you find yourself opening the door to an empty garage, please don’t blame God. He had the timing right. The best thing to do is be ready for tomorrow’s trip.
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