Last night right before bedtime a child in my house spilled a gallon of tea while trying to reach the milk that was in the back of the refrigerator. It was a full gallon but it was at least half full. It went EVERYWHERE inside the refrigerator, outside the refrigerator, on the floor - everywhere. A thousand apologies, some tears, a few frustrating words by me and lots of paper towels and cleanup - and it was over. I apologized for my too quick response, assured our child it was OK - an accident - and offered the friendly parenting advice to ask for help next time - instead of trying to do it on her own.
Being a parent is hard most of the time, especially when you are watching your children grow up and making mistakes. Some things we want to fix for them right away, other times we don't even want them to try it on their own, and yet other times we have to let them figure it out - mistakes and all. We can give all the "friendly parenting advice" we want, but when it comes down to it - they have to make that choice. If you only knew how many times I say to myself (and sometimes out loud) "If you had just done what I told you to in the first place this wouldn't have happened!". Last night when I was thinking that, I heard God's still small voice say "Uh-huh,I know what you mean." OUCH!
2 Timothy 3:16 says "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right."My heavenly Father is constantly giving me "friendly parenting advice" in fact He even wrote a book with pages full of direction and help, and yet I STILL try to do things on my own. I still think I can go around something, or better yet that I know better than He does. The result of all those actions is that I fail - I spill the milk, the tea, and make a mess.
"But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." James 1:22-24
Sometimes listening and doing aren't always easy. I mean some things are pretty simple - "Do not kill" - OK I get that - no problem. How about "Love your neighbor as yourself"? - Hmmm - alright I'll give it a try. Now, "pray for those who persecute you" - OK that's going a little far Lord... God's Word is true, and even when we stick our fingers in our ears, pretend we didn't hear that, or better yet roll our eyes at what our Heavenly Father tells us - it's still RIGHT. What's funny is when we fight God on something it's exhausting - and we feel so bound down by "the rules" - it's "unfair" and "not right" - but yet - when we finally give in and realize our FATHER really does know best - just like the scriptures says it "sets us free" and "God will bless you for doing it." Just like the rules and directions we give our children - God isn't doing it to spite us but to HELP us. - (OH HOW I WISH I COULD REMEMBER THAT!)
Here's the beautiful part. When we do "spill the tea" and make a mess - He is right there to help us clean it up. As we wallow and how stupid we are, and what a mess we have made - He is quick to forgive, and reassures us it will be OK. Some messes take longer to clean up, some are sticky and require some creative cleaning. But He doesn't leave us to do it ourselves, He doesn't lecture us about what we should have done instead, He loves us through it - and somehow He will use it for His glory.
"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23