We went to the State Fair of Texas this week. And for those of you in other states, ours is the best. It welcomes over 3 million visitors a year. It invented the corn dog. And this year it has ostrich racing. We went and it was raining. Even after the rain had abated, the sidewalks were wet and we were soaked. Thomas was tired enough that he was a bit loopy. But to get him to the gate, and try to save our backs, we/he started playing a game of Go-Stop. Think Red Light/ Green Light but with no lead person. Anyone could declare Go and at any point anyone could say Stop. Thomas had such enthusiasm that he got our friends to play along, and then total strangers that were coming up on us from behind. He brings joy and smiles to a lot of people, and seems to have a knack to saying hello to someone that really needs it.
Thomas is also growing up. He is almost two. And he is a ham. He think he controls his world, and to a bit he does. If he is hungry, we feed him. If he is tired, we put him to bed. If he is wet, we change him. We cater to his needs and desires. But he knows things are changing too... His car seat now faces forward. At the car show, he wanted to drive the new cars. He thinks complete strangers should listen to his voice and follow along without a thought otherwise.
Now when I buckle him in his seat in the back, and make sure he is secure, he will look at me, point to the steering wheel and command "Drive!"
Most of the time I laugh at him, and ask, "Do you want me to drive, Thomas?"
"Yeah Dada, drive."
Little does he know that I have been driving since long (in his time scale, maybe short in others) before he was born. And that I know how to steer and press the pedals to have the engine move the car. But in his world, his decree that I drive has some power to it. I could teach him a lesson and sit on the hood as he commanded that I drive, but what would that prove, other than a young child has a old child for a father? Or I could put him in the driver seat, and ask, "If you can command that I drive, show me how." But that would be as silly as me telling a mechanic or a pilot how to do their jobs. But you can see it in his eyes that he feels some power, some control in this way.
Most of the time, I play along, and let my son believe that it is his decree that motivates me to drive, instead of a need to get somewhere, or a desire to leave WalMart. A few times, I will admit that Thomas has a stubborn dad, I have tried to reason with him as to the reality of the situation... but then next time, "Drive!" is still the command.
How many times does God put us where we need to be, and then we feel secure enough to begin to try to dictate what comes next? Or how many times do we negotiate with God when in fact all we really have to do is go along for the ride for a while? There can be comfort in being safe as long as it gets us to a needed destination. Then we are to go out and exude joy. Joy enough to get strangers to play along. And isn't that what the kingdom of God is, getting others to know the joy that we know and sometimes show?