Last week I went to pick up my granddaughters and take them on a picnic. Before we left I told them to tidy up the living room and put away their toys, books, and other items which were strewn all over the carpet. Four-year-old Kinsey protested. “Haylee left the arrows out. That’s Haylee’s book…”, on and on came the excuses. Kinsey’s balk was out of character for her; but I persisted.
“Okay, then while your mommy does Haylee’s hair, just pick up the tissues and the dolls you played with; Haylee will pick up her part.” It was like pushing a freight-train through a keyhole, but I managed to get her to pick up one doll and the flip-flops before Haylee returned. I could have done it myself in less than 3 minutes if my back was agreeable, but it wasn’t.
Surprisingly, Haylee immediately picked up everything else without a word of protest. It was a balm of peace to the struggle I’d had with her little sister. When Haylee agreeably picked up her toys, Kinsey joined in without any whining. I couldn’t help but wonder if that wasn’t how God felt when we readily obey, without balking.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” Philippians 5:12
I don’t know about you, but it thrills me when the girls agreeably obey without threats. I admit that sometimes I’ve had to threaten to leave without them to get them to pick up their toys before we leave the house. I’d much rather they obey straightaway without protests and complaints. But I think this is part of teaching them. It takes persistence. And patience. The hope is that someday they will obey without any reminders.
Children don’t always want to obey. We have to teach them. Sometimes we reward them with tea-parties for obedience. Sometimes we give consequences when they choose disobedience. Likewise, we Christians do not always obey our Father’s commands. We follow after our own way. We whine. We get complacent. We get lazy and rebellious. If I am to obey my Father’s instructions to “train up a child in the way he should go”, then I cannot be swayed when they don’t want to do what they’re told to do.
My home and my life was not affected whatsoever by the mess the girls left on their mother’s floor. However, they learned obedience by doing what I told them to do. I’m grateful I can lighten my daughter’s burden a bit by watching her girls while she runs errands. When I validate her rules, it helps undergird her efforts as a Biblical mother and keeps a consistent flow of obedience to authority in their lives.
PRAYER: Lord, give wisdom to parents today. Help grandparents undergird and validate their adult children as they strive to be Biblical in mothering and fathering. Help us not provoke our children to anger, and let all our instructions be tempered with love and mercy.