Obedience Observed

Recently I attended a family birthday celebration at a park. It was a large, busy park, with a street running through the middle. A young boy-maybe three or four years old, took off running for the swings across the street. Just as he got to the curb, his father called him back. I didn’t understand the words spoken, as this birthday party was for the Spanish-speaking side of my family, but I was impressed by the father’s kind but firm tone, and it was clear he was commanding his son to come away from the street and return to him. The little guy, with one foot off the curb, turned around and pleaded with his father, but when his father again said, “No,” the boy began to cry. Not a rebellious, throwing-a-fit cry, just a sorrowful display of tears, realizing he couldn’t have what he wanted. He trudged back, head hanging, to his father, who was sitting with a baby on his lap. The boy approached, put his arms around his father’s legs, rested his little head on Dad’s lap, and cried softly as his father stroked his hair.
Wow. So impressed, I was speechless (partly because my Spanish is so bad). Obviously, the father had spent a lot of time and effort training his son for such a time as this. He didn’t rise from his seat, march over and jerk his son by the arm, dragging him back. He was confident their relationship was established; his son would obey. What a great example of Ephesians 6:4, exhorting fathers (and mothers) not to confuse their children with spineless parenting, but to love and train their children to honor others and God:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children but bring them up in the nurturing and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6)
It also serves as an example of our Father’s love for us, and an apt response to His love. Like the little guy at the park, we see the amusements. We simply want what others are allowed to enjoy. Our Father knows the dangers and commands us to turn back. We get frustrated, maybe even angry at God for not giving us what we really, really need- in our minds, anyway. God does not jerk us by the arm and drag us to His will, although thankfully, if he suspects I won’t obey and the dangers merits it, he’ll put up necessary obstacles. Like the dad at the park, the Lord doesn’t demand we “Stop that idiotic crying this instant!” In fact He says, “Be angry, but don’t sin,” and comforts us in the sorrow that often comes with obedience.
Because of all that Jesus has done for us, we are loved deeply, carefully, and safely, and are given the gift of loving back in return. This relationship we have with our Father. It’s a walk in the park.
“For the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. “
Proverbs 3:12

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