How many times have you done something stupid and would have been OK if God had just stepped in and stopped you from doing it?
The other night my daughter wanted to tackle homework all on her own. She didn’t even want us to know that she was going to do it. She told me to just let her “take some notes,” as in “leave me alone so I can get my homework done.” I caught on pretty quickly. But knowing my daughter and her inability to stay on task, a trait she lovingly got passed down from her father, I figured it was only a matter of time before I needed to step in. Bedtime was quickly approaching, but I wanted to give her space.
At the same time, our 8-month old baby is pulling up on everything. He’s just getting started, so obviously this is not a graceful act. The trouble usually happens when he gets slightly distracted, or so focused on one object that he misses his mark and bumps his mouth. From his level, the dining room chairs and coffee table are like a jungle gym. The only problem is that he’s still a Bobblehead. One curious turn of the head and we have a busted noggin’ against the chair leg.
With the baby, I step in and protect him at every possible moment. Of course, I do. He’s helpless. He doesn’t know better. And then, obviously, as he grows up I will begin treating him as I do his older sister. Loosening the reins as time passes. I step in when I need to, but at the same time continue to give her space to learn and grow. Especially when she’s demanding it…
This particular event with my daughter was over math homework. Her task was to subtract minutes across the hour break using a clock dial. What’s 30 minutes before 1:10pm? Now, I could point to the answer in a second, and explain the ‘why’ in a minute. But she’s reading, and thinking, and trying to find a relevant video, and getting a drink of water, and using the bathroom, “Um..Babygirl? I thought you were doing your homew… taking some notes?” Sure enough, it became late enough that I had to step in, and after a minute of pouting then redirecting, we finally got it finished.
Someday, she may be where I find myself, sitting at work and trying to stay focused, wishing she had someone reminding her to stay on task. Someday she’s going to get unreasonably angry in traffic, wishing she had someone to calm her down. Someday she may wonder why God isn’t stepping in to stop her from doing something stupid.
I honestly don’t know how much God steps in our lives. It might be more than I realize. Less than I’d like it to be? I’m not sure how all that works. But I can see the benefit in consequences. Ohhhhhhhhh I hate to say that. But isn’t it true? There are some life lessons you can only learn by experiencing them. My poor baby boy will soon stop pounding his head when he sits up underneath the piano bench. My daughter may, possibly, hopefully, someday realize that it’s better to go ahead and finish her meal even if it’s not her favorite. Someday I might realize that it’s not worth it to hit the snooze over and over again.
I try to be an example. I try to give her reminders. I tell her stories and take advantage of life lessons that are happening right in front of us. I will be there for her when she needs me.
God gave us Jesus as an example. There’s a collection of stories, accounts, and letters in the form of the Bible to be a reminder. We have the church to share life with and learn from each other. God is always there when I need Him (rather, He’s there whether I think I need Him or not).
My wife gave me a print of this cartoon for Christmas, from a cartoonist she knew in high school. Sums up this whole thought pretty well:
Yep, I think I finally understand how God feels about us.