Last week my nephew and sister-in-law visited us. Poor little guy . . . it’s hard being away from his home and routine but he’s quite a trooper. Dinnertime, though, is especially difficult. The other night we were trying over and over to get him to sit and finish his green beans and rice. He wanted to turn around in his chair, look at the kitty, stand on his chair, get down and play, lay his head down, and basically do anything other than obey. His mom took him to the other room for a few minutes and then he returned to the table. “Are you going to obey?” I asked. He nodded his head. “Ok, so can you take a bite of green beans?” He mischievously grinned, and shook his head, “No!” And so it continued. “Will you obey?” “No!” And it got me thinking . . .
Though I am a married Bible school graduate with 23 years of Christianity under my belt, I am struck by the sheer immaturity and disobedience of my heart. Am I really that different in my spiritual life than a 2 year old? The honest answer is no. I’ve always struggled with obedience. I have a strong will. I like to stomp my feet, cross my arms, and do things my way. God, in His kindness, has been allowing me to hear His small voice more often, saying, “Laura, you should stop. Laura, you should respond in love. Laura, you should put others before yourself.” I’m glad that I hear Him. But I would be even more glad if I responded with “Yes, Lord!” instead of “No!” It seems so childish.
Fortunately, the situation isn’t hopeless. My nephew didn’t obey that night. He was sent off to bed without the rest of his dinner because, as we all know, disobedience has consequences. But his mommy reminded him that he would have another chance to obey tomorrow. How wonderfully true with God as well! Lamentations 3:22-23 says “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV) It makes me shake my head because I can’t quite understand that amount of love and patience, but God’s mercy is new every morning. Every morning. Even when I am stubborn, He will not forsake me. Though I deserve it, I will not be consumed. He offers me a new chance to obey each day.
Let’s take this beyond coffee: My prayer is that I will stop and listen to God’s voice and realize the options He is putting before me. Obedience brings me closer to Him. Disobedience carries consequences that virtually always involve me moving a little farther away from Him. “Laura, will you obey? Will you come to me?” Lord, help me to put aside myself and choose You instead!