Originally scheduled for February 3
In our previous
church the toddlers had to go down a set of stairs with their
parents to go to the parking lot. The stairs are a difficult thing
for little ones; the steps are too large for those little feet.
Parents know this. So, at the top of the stairs Daddy would reach
over and say to the toddler, “hold my hand.” Dad is carrying the
diaper bag and who knows what all else in the way of paraphernalia,
so it usually takes a little readjustment to get a hand free to hold
the toddler. Down the steps they go. Dad is usually in a bit of a
hurry and this is rough on the toddler. But dad holds on so that the
child does not fall. The child, no matter how many times you explain
it to him, does not really understand that dad is doing this to keep
him out of trouble. It looks to them like one more parental
restriction with no obvious reason.
Thus it is that
at the bottom of the stairs the toddler lets go of dad’s hand and
rushes out the door as fast as his little feet will carry him. As
the door leads to the parking lot, and there are cars moving through
it, this causes dad to run after the child and grab his hand again.
It’s a good example of how two-year-old brains think — and it’s a
pretty fair example of how human beings act in general.
God, like Daddy,
sees the difficulties ahead of you. He knows those stairs are going
to be hard to climb down. So he takes action to prevent you from
getting into trouble. You, on the other hand, don’t see the
difficulties ahead (or ignore them completely). As a result you
chafe at his restrictions and decide that as soon as possible you’re
going to take off on your own. We’re going to do things our way as
soon as we can. So the cycle repeats; we run off, he chases us and
corrals us one more time.
Why does God do
this? It’s because he knows you’re a sinner – but He loves you.
You’re going to get into trouble, and he wants to prevent that if
possible. The greatest example of this is at the Cross. You are a
sinner, so before you were born he sent his Son to die on the cross
for you. It is his body that is broken as our atonement; it is his
blood that cleanses us from our sins. He has already taken this
action for you. But he also gives you something that is in the
present: Communion. It is not sufficient for you that he died; you
must remember and accept his atonement. So it is that he has given
us a memorial of his sacrifice so that we might know what to do
today. Just like the toddler, he wants you to take his hand. He
wants you to cooperate — which is to say, he wants you to repent.
Take your troubles to him; take your sins to him and ask him to
create in you a clean heart.
If the toddler is
cranky enough, there is another method of going down the stairs.
Daddy reaches down and picks up the toddler and carries him. If
things have gotten much worse in your life, he will carry you, too.
Like the stairs, the troubles in life are much easier when he does
that. Repent, and accept his loving care. He is your heavenly father
and he cares for you.