What's crazy is that my son is now going on his 3rd year of college and traveling this summer with a music band for which he plays. I am amazed at how God has brought him through and through, teaching him the hard lessons of obedience. But blessing him as a result of his humble attitude. Thank you Lord!
"I don't want to go to school! I want to stay with you", my son cried. This was the second week of school, and this was the routine every morning right in the middle of the school's main hallway. The other parents and students were becoming accustomed to this "daily show".
I surely wasn't. I was fed up. I had tried everything. I pleaded with him. I lectured him. I yelled. I spanked. I negotiated. I cried. Yet, nothing seemed to work that morning. The worst part was that I knew exactly how he felt. He wasn't just being a 'brat'. He was experiencing separation anxiety, as well as, culture shock.
He was in Kindergarten, and he was the only other boy who only spoke English in a brand new school and an entirely new neighborhood. I knew he felt alone, scared, and lost. And although I wish I could have just given in and taken him home, I knew that he had to go to school. Yet on that morning, I finally said to him, "Fine, you want to come home, let's go home. But you must stay in your room all day. No games, no toys, no movies, no cartoons, no computer, no nothing. That's your punishment for not staying at school." And to that he said, "Okay." I couldn't believe his response, but with that, we headed home.
Just two hours later, my son was dressing himself for school, and he asked me to please take him back. "I'm going to listen to you now. I want to go to school cause I want to be able to play with my stuff when I come home." So I took him back to school, and after that day he continued to go without any more resistance.
It's amazing how children sometimes prefer to learn obedience the hard way. Come to think of it, the fact is that it isn't that amazing, and that it is actually a natural tendency to learn things the hard way. Furthermore, if we look at it from a spiritual point of view, we might realize that we so often try to negotiate with God and we end up learning obedience the hard way as well. You see just like me on those early Kindergarten mornings, God too pleads with us-- the Holy Spirit tugs at our hearts. God lectures us-- the pastor's powerful sermon. He yells at us sometimes--the wise counsel of a good friend. At times He even spanks--the consequence of sin. He negotiates--the Holy word is made clear. And He even cries at times-- the Holy Spirit quiets down.
It's true God sympathizes with how we feel. He has felt that way before. And yet, He knows how essential it is for us obey. And although He lets us make our choice, He also makes clear to us what could happen if we don't obey. The choice, however, remains ours. (Isn't God amazing?!) What's astounding is how many of us still time and time again will resist God and what He wants from us. And we follow our own will, only to find that it isn't truly worth it. (the consequences of sin are no fun)
That's when we find ourselves at times quickly (or not so quickly) turning back to God and saying, "Okay, you were right. Please take me back. I'll do as you say. I want to be able to enjoy my "stuff". (His blessings) I'm ready to obey."