How many times have we seen it or experienced it ourselves?
That moment when a young child cries, “WHY do I have to do it?!!!”
In reply an exasperated mama says, “Because I TOLD you to!!!”
Then the moment of truth: either the child complies (reluctantly perhaps) or chooses willful disobedience.
When my children were little, we lived on a fairly busy road with our driveway a short distance from the edge of the pavement. I was shepherding four young ones and could not possibly keep an eye on each one every second of every day.
So early on we established a rule: You never step on blacktop pavement without holding the hand of an adult.
I explained that the road was dangerous. But let’s face it, the ability of a two year old to understand “dangerous” is limited.
Because of the faithful love they experienced in our home, my children trusted me even though they did not fully comprehend the need to obey.
And this rule was never broken as long as we lived there.
It kept them safe.
These last months I have felt like an angry, willful child-I’ve asked God, “Why do I have to affirm Your goodness? Why do I have to believe You are in control? Why do I have to keep on keeping on when all I want to do is lie down and give up?”
And, honestly, the only answer I’ve gotten is, “Because I told you to.”
He has not given me special revelation nor has He whispered unique comfort to my heart.
No answer as to why MY son wasn’t saved.
No insight into how these circumstances play into His greater plan and purpose for my life or for anyone else’s life.
So I face a moment of truth: will I choose obedience? Will I choose to continue to follow my Savior and trust my Heavenly Father?.
Will I rest in the faithful love He has showered on me all my days and hold tighter to the hope I have in Christ?
Or will I walk away because I don’t get what I want and I don’t understand?
The apostles faced a similar test many times. One which speaks to my heart occurred just after Jesus miraculously fed the five thousand.
When Jesus taught that He was the Bread of Life, many turned away because they found the words offensive and hard to believe.
The crowd had readily accepted physical blessing from His hand, but hesitated when the blessing wasn’t something they could touch or comprehend.
They were unprepared to follow Him if they didn’t understand.
Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?”
Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were complaining about this, asked them, “Does this offend you?”
From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?”
Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!”
John 6: 60-61, 66-69
Simon Peter chose to follow because he believed and accepted a core truth: Jesus IS the Holy One of God. He IS the Bread of Heaven. He IS the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Like the crowd, I cry out, “This teaching (of Your sovereignty, of Your goodness, of Your love for me) is hard! Who can accept it (in light of my experience)?”
But as an act of will, even in the midst of so many unanswered questions, I will choose to follow and obey because only Jesus has the words of eternal life.
I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?
― C.S. Lewis
2 thoughts on “Willful Obedience”
I have always loved this scripture passage. I’m with Peter, I don’t understand, but I choose Jesus. I follow because I know Him, and I know there is no other way to go that will satisfy. Yes, we lost our son. Yes, I will choose to trust and follow Jesus, Who has been, and always will be, so good.
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