I’m very big on first-time obedience when it comes to my kids. It’s kind of my thing. “Delayed obedience is disobedience!” (That’s a quote from my dad.)
But if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t exactly practice what I preach. I have a list of things God has told me to do that I still haven’t gotten around to yet–all for various and often well-thought-out reasons. But how is that any different from my children? When I tell Journey to clean up his toys, in his mind, continuing to play with his car is far more important than doing what mommy says. Or if I call Faith to come to me, going in the opposite direction not only seems like a better idea, it’s more fun–especially when mommy chases after her.
So why do I expect things of my kids that I don’t do myself? And why do I get so frustrated when they don’t do it? I wonder if God feels that same frustration with me.
This topic has been a particular source of frustration recently. And I’m beginning to wonder if God is trying to show me something in my children’s obedience–or lack of it, in this case.
I think he’s teaching me about perseverance. Galatians 6:9 says, “So let us not grow tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (NLT). I was reading to Journey earlier today–after a particularly challenging morning–and in his little innocent book on colors, there was this scripture. I knew right then that God was answering my earlier plea for guidance. No, it’ wasn’t “do this and this will happen.” But it was telling me to continue to do what I’m doing with Journey (and Faith)…because I will see a “harvest of blessing” if I don’t give up.
I also believe God is trying to get me out of my own complacency with delayed obedience. When Journey doesn’t obey right away, he misses opportunities–No, we’re not going to the park today, because you didn’t obey mommy. I think it’s the same with God–though he’s much more gracious to me than I am to Journey. It reminds me of the children of Israel. Because of their disobedience, they wandered the wilderness for 40 years and many of them missed the opportunity to see the land God had promised (Numbers 14). I don’t want to miss God’s promises and opportunities anymore. So now I’m going through my “list.”