The thunder, lightning and sirens were abounding last night at my house. In the wee hours of the night, I awoke to pouring down rain, loud claps of thunder and sirens racing past my home. Katie came in to our room frightened. Who wouldn’t be? It was loud and obnoxious. It kept me awake, so if I was an 8 year old, I would run into my parent’s room too. In fact, I just wanted to cover my own head with my comforter and sink back into a deep sleep, but that wasn’t going to happen last night.
It doesn’t always take thunderstorms to keep me awake, but last night it was the instigator. As my mind wandered from lack of sleep, I started the “what if” game again. What if the creek overflows? What if the rain floods the barn? What if the water comes into the basement? What if, what if and what if some more. Yes, the thunderstorms were the instigator, but I was the problem. Do you ever allow something to start you down the wrong path to life? I do this all the time. I let one person, place or thing initiate the sin within me. I can do this just by chatting with a friend. The conversation starts to steer toward gossip and I allow it to go downhill. I have a choice: I could stop it from continuing or I can let it slide into a whirlwind that just cannot be stopped. I seem to choose the latter quite a bit.
Last night, I allowed the thunderstorms to ignite my worry. I could justify my worry by saying that all day, I had situations arise that caused me concern. It wasn’t going to take much to take the wrong turn into sin. Honestly, I don’t think God wants me to use those opportunities to justify my bad choice. I think God wants me to change my pathway. He wants me to take the right pathway which He knows full well will take A LOT of effort on my part.
That’s the thing with choices. It is hard to make a good choice. It is easy to make a bad one. So often in my life I have found, if I just stepped back before making a snap decision, I would see God’s plan. I would see the difficult terrain that He wants me to venture through. Only that difficult terrain would be doable with God at my side. Someone once told me a story about God’s love for us. It is like a father teaching his son to mow the lawn. The father doesn’t just put the son behind the mower and let him have at it. Nope, he stands behind him at the mower, gently showing his son how to guide and turn the mower to cut the grass. As his son begins to grasp that idea of mowing, the father slowly loosens his grip and allows the son to take over. The son will feel that he is gaining more and more power over the mower and can choose to take it away from his dad or he can allow his dad to continue to help. This is called free will.
As a child, I loved to mow the grass (well at least in the beginning). It gave me a feeling of respect and responsibility. I would have allowed my father to guide me, and allowed my father to tell me when I was ready to do it on my own. Even after a few times on my own, I continued to ask my father’s advice on what was the best way to mow. As I got better at mowing, I started to steer clear of my father. I got a little stubborn about the best way to get the job done. I began to ignore that my father had great experience and expertise to offer me. I drifted out on my own.
Now it isn’t wrong to drift away on our own as long as we respect and honor our father. I think this is why I allow sin instigators into my life: I allow myself to drift too far from my Father.
I still need God in my life, even if I think I am capable on my own. I still need his expertise and love and strength to get me through the “what ifs” and the bad free will choices that I make. I cannot forget that He taught me His way through His Word. This life I have is to be Glory for Him, not for me. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life for me. So, when thunderstorms (or whatever instigator) leads me to sin, I need to ask God to step back behind my “mower of life” to guide me gently back on the pathway. I need to remember who is my Father.