Lessons on the Road
Being a parent will teach you much about life. And these lessons tend to pop up when you least expect them. Such was the case recently as I was riding in a van with some friends, my wife, and our 16 month old son. Our son had not been in a car seat for more than a few minutes in quite a while and was no longer used to being restrained for so long. A few minutes into the ride and he begins crying and signaling that he wants free! Unfortunately I was not close enough to console him, so my wife was left to tackle this parenting challenge.
Quiet (Result) or Comfort (Presence)
This is where my impromptu lesson appeared. As good of a mommy as my wife is, her focus, for the sake of all passengers, was to get him to be quiet. And it wasn’t working. In fact, it was only escalating. Then I realized the issue: my son wanted to be comforted, not quieted. A pacifier might work for both goals but the intention is seen, even by a 16 month old. So we switched places and I put my theory to the test. Minutes later he was calm, allowing me to reflect on what this lesson might mean for me. And then it hit me: presence vs. results. In the Christian context, God desires our presence, not our results. Strangely enough though, presence naturally leads to results!
I received a second impromptu lesson shortly after the first incident. There was another baby in the car, a row in front of us. She was taking the ride pretty well but started to get a little fussy after an hour or so. Let me pause here and ask what your initial response might be? I think the answer depends on your focus: presence or result. This determines if you give them your attention and (hopefully) soothing presence or a quick snack because we all know that food pleases 99.9% of all babies – resulting in moments of blissful silence.
Getting back to the situation, a cracker was offered and the desired result was obtained – silence. And I felt the distinct teaching of presence vs. results again. Now, this is in no way meant to judge anyone. We all swing between presence and results. This revelation, if you don’t mind me calling it that, was simply a reminder to put God first and let Him handle what I cannot.
The Unbelievable Truth
God actually desires our presence! Think about it for a second: if God only cared about our results then He would have been happy with the law of the Old Testament. The Prophets would have only had one message: “Obey the law!” But we know that the Prophets did much more than remind Israel of the law. They reminded Israel of God’s love for them, that He has a plan for them, and that the Messiah is coming. The unbelievable truth is that the Prophets were right! God does love! He loves so much, in fact, that He sends His Son (John 3:16-17) to fulfill the law and make it possible for every human being to have a personal relationship with Him!
Put It Into Practice
Are you struggling in an area of your life or walk with God? This could be a habitual sin, a poor attitude, a lazy spirit, etc. Maybe you read this so God could remind you to seek Him first and let Him carry your burden.
- List some practical ways you can seek Him first. The next time you have a break, do one!
- Meditate on the idea that God created you in His image, not to simply do stuff but to choose Him.