"I don't want to."
"I said put your socks on. You get to wear your pajamas and house-shoes to school today for the Polar Express party, so you need to wear your socks in case you want to take off your shoes. Your feet will stay warm and clean."
"I said I don't want to."
"I didn't ask what you want to do, I told you to put your socks on. Do it now, or you will miss the party."
Sound familiar. Possibly so. But, it gets even better...
Finally, after crying dramatically while brushing teeth, getting two spankings, and stomping around the house saying, "I SAID I'M SORRY!" - finally, a truly apologetic five year old son came to me and had his socks on as he asked forgiveness for talking back and being bad.
I forgave---of course.
Then, I sent him to get his coat from the other side of the house.
I heard him calling me to come to him, and what did I find when I walked into the living room?
There he was, sitting there in the recliner with the most innocent look on his face and his legs crossed...socks laying ON THE FLOOR...putting his house-shoes back on...saying, "Mommy, can you call my teacher and ask her if it is okay if I come to school with no socks on?"
Where did that sweet, repentant, sincerely apologetic boy go? Mind you, he was still being sweet...BUT, WHAT IS HE THINKING!?! Oh, the nerve!
Fast forward a bit and a boy with socks on under his house-shoes finally got to school late after having very sincerely apologized again ("Mommy, I'm sorry for all of that trouble.").
Knowing these are his last few days at this precious school he loves before changing mid-year to a new one very far away, this mother just could not force him to stay home from such a special day...rebellion or not.
All of this reminds me of how God loves His children - the Israelites of the Old Testament days as well as all of His children in all generations. As I am reading through Isaiah, I see our Father repeatedly warning the Israelites of the dangers of not obeying Him and of seeking refuge in anyone other than their God. He loves them and us so much, it truly angers Him to know His children will repeatedly rebel, disobey, and even scoff at Him and His words of love and protection for them.
Yet---He still promises them renewal and refuge. Hope and peace.
In spite of their inevitable attempts at life without Him, He continually protects them and provides for them---and us. Yes, punishment is often necessary as is purging and cleansing from the idols His children often welcome into their lives. But, after the purging and cleansing, there is a promise of peace and rest.
See for yourself:
“Woe to the obstinate children,”
declares the LORD,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
heaping sin upon sin;
who go down to Egypt
without consulting me;
who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,
to Egypt’s shade for refuge.
For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it."
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:1-2, 9, 15, 18
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the LORD.
...the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made. Isaiah 31:1, 5-7
The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert,In this season of the year in which we reflect on our lives - past, present, and future - consider what part(s) of your life you are trying to do on your own.
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest. Isaiah 32:16-18
Are you struggling to get your own way? To go barefoot instead of putting on your socks, as you know you should do?
Quit being obstinate. It's more strain on you, now and in the long run.
"Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against."
Return to Him and rest in Him.
Does this resonate with you? If so, how? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Oh, and sorry for the long absence from posting on my part ... life has been "happening" ... a lot!