"It's really long, Mom," Gabe told me when I let him know he would be going on a scooter ride with Dad to a fun location.
"I'm tired. Can't I stay home and take a nap?" he replied, when I reminded him he has joyfully made this trek before.
"I would really rather just play," he said through tears, appealing to my Momma's heart.
Before you can do what you want, you have to do what we say.
My reply to him stopped the tears, but not the anger in his heart that he couldn't just be in charge, that he couldn't just do what he wants when he wants. In fact, his frustration continued to come out, and I repeatedly reminded him that I know best, and I will, for sure, provide time for his wants, and he needs to obey.
"It's been 6 months, God. That's a really long time," my heart cries out to God when the future laid before me is unclear and un-fun.
"I'm tired. Can't I just rest?" I whine, as I fight to be a good wife, mom, daughter, and friend and see that I am only a fraction of what I once was.
"I would really rather know what's in store, and how you plan to fix this," I whisper in moments of utter frustration. I hate not being in control.
Before you can do what you want, you need to do what I say.
God's reply to me mimics my own knowledge of parenting. He does know best. He does provide for my desires. He blesses me abundantly, whether I choose to focus on that or not. He desires obedience not because it is good for Him, but because obedience is good for me.
My son reminded me today that although it breaks my heart to look at his tear stained face and tell him that he cannot have his way, when his request is in fact reasonable, I am building into him strong character and perseverance which will serve him all of his days. In the same way, God hurts over my tears, and would give me my way if it actually was good for me, and good for His kingdom. But in His infinite love he chooses to softly say no to me too.
I can almost hear the catch in His voice; for He is not a terrible authority who delights in making His subjects miserable, but instead is a loving Father who knows what is best, and loves me enough to give me what is best, even when I am mad at Him for it.
As desperately as I want my son to understand why I tell him no, and yet teach him to obey without understanding, I need to search out the heart of God and find joy in His wisdom, and still go His way when the details are not within my grasp.
There is an elusive state called peace. It is not devoid of war or fighting, not absent of struggles or adversaries. Instead it is amidst the hardest battle that true peace is found. For when you trust someone enough to rest in the safety of their embrace in the middle of the battle, then you have found peace.
Somedays, the Lord is my refuge. He is always willing to be my refuge, but like a child venturing out of the protective arms of their parents, I sometimes decide my way would be best, and I go that way, even if only in my heart.
But the peace of God, the peace that passes all understanding, is peace during fear, peace during uncertainty, peace during pain. This is the peace I seek. This is the peace I experience.
From John 14
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you...
"These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.