Once a month I dedicate a day to praying and planning. As part of that routine, when the weather cooperates, I walk and pray. Recently I was walking and praying near a beautiful park down the road from our house. I overheard a mother calling to her two-year old son, Tucker, as I meandered along the park trail. The gist of the conversation went like this. The mother called for Tucker and threatened to drive away if he did not come right away. Quoting her statement, “I’m leaving without you!!!!” Tucker, feeling no immediate threat, called the mother’s bluff and crawled up the amazing climbing apparatus. The mother, undaunted in the battle of wills she had created, started the car. Tucker continued his pursuit of happiness as he felt much more excitement from the climb-nasium than he did from the thought of going home. Mother, feeling as if she could not abandon her plan, backed the car up and began to drive away. Tucker, seeing the exodus of his mother, begins to wail at the top of his little lungs. Slamming on the brakes, Mother leaves the car in the middle of the parking lot and hustles over to console her despondent son. Tucker wins!
There are no perfect parents. I made more than my fair share of bone-headed decisions in my two parenting decades. The situation I observed provides a strong analogy for our relationship with God. God provides a path that requires us to surrender. We have to lay down any authority we think we have, humble ourselves, and follow God’s path. How often does God say, “Hey, I’m heading this way!” Then we turn and invest our time with useless pursuits that will not matter in eternity. God’s will is being done. His plan will carry on with or without you. God wants you to walk with Him so that when you play, you play with Him in His way. When it is time to go, you are willing to leave. Taking God’s path requires us to remember God’s words in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” The next time you witness a battle of wills, consider your own will. Pause for a moment and listen to hear if God is calling, “I’m leaving without you!!!!”