|Josh, circa 2009|
Scaling the Mountain: Part 5
Part of "A Journey to Charis"
I figured out that Josh was strong-willed when he was thirteen months old, and we were figuratively butting heads all the time, and he was literally throwing various, hard objects in my general direction. My mom always hoped I would have a child just like me... thanks, mom, and I am sorry for a lot of things. Really, I am.
The thing about us strong-willed people, is that we don't out and out want to be told what to do. We like suggestions and stories. We like to have options and the ability to make choices. Most importantly, we need to know the "why's" behind a concept and line of reasoning that goes with it. If it makes sense to us, it's a whole lot more likely that we will comply. If you are loving and kind to us, we are much better at complying, too. Otherwise, if you say white, we will say black, just to get a rise out of you. I don't do that anymore. Well, hardly ever, anyway.
When Josh was younger, I would try and never use the phrase, "because I'm your mother, and I said so." That would get me nowhere. But there were times when I had to go with that, because he wasn't mature enough yet to understand the reasoning behind my decision.
One day, we were driving home from town on a picturesque two lane highway, listening to some pretty music and enjoying ourselves. Up ahead I saw a blockade, so I slowed down and eventually came to a stop. A police officer approached my window and told me the highway was impassable and I would have to take another route. I wanted to ask why. I wanted to know what was beyond that blockade and why he was trying to ruin my nice drive. But I didn't. I thanked him and turned around and took another road home.
Josh asked why we had to turn around.
I don't know, I replied, wishing I knew. But you know what? That police officer has our best interests at heart, don't you think? Maybe he was protecting us from seeing a tragic accident, or maybe there was a fallen tree in the middle of the road that would have blocked our way. I had to trust that he knew something I didn't and that he was, perhaps, keeping me from some form of danger. That's why I just did as he said, and I didn't ask any questions.
There are times when I can't give you all the details, either, Josh. Sometimes, you just have to trust your mommy and daddy and do what they say. We want what's best for you, but sometimes we can't share the information... we just need you to obey so that you will be safe from harm. Sometimes, we can't answer your why's, and you just have to trust us and know that we love you.
That made sense to my sweet son.
He now knew the reason some of his why's cannot be answered.
I have been thinking about this analogy in my relationship to God recently. I have had so many why's in the past year... about so many things. I tell Him that I just don't get it, and I don't see the purpose. But I am learning that He cares about me a lot more than that policeman did. He knew the dark valleys I would be walking through, and He couldn't reveal it all at once, because it would overwhelm me. He also knows what is in the future and He is rerouting me to better roads. And although I would still really like to have all my "why's" answered, I am learning to trust. To trust in a God who loved me so much He sent His Son to die on my behalf. I know that He'll answer my why's when He thinks I'm ready... or maybe He won't. My strong-willed self is okay with that.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight."