October 13, 2009

Hold My Hand

My wife's van had a tire that was getting low on air. I had filled it back up, but the air pressure slowly leaked out, so I decided to take it to have it looked at. I took Kelsey and we went to Discount Tire. I dropped the van off and we decided to go and visit Walmart while we were waiting. Discount Tire and Walmart are in the same parking lot, so off we went, through the busy parking lot, of course, holding hands. Who would ever think of walking through a parking lot like that without holding their 4 year old's hand!

On the way back to pick up the van, as we were walking hand in hand, we came to an empty parking lot next to Discount Tire. There was no traffic, so I let go of Kelsey's hand and said "go on!" So she ran on ahead of me...the next thing I knew, she was laying face first in the parking lot screaming bloody murder! She had not noticed a small rise in the pavement, and had tripped, skinning her knees. I ran to pick her up, and she immediately had these words for me, through her streaming tears: "Daddy, it's your fault, you're the one who let go of my hand and told me to go on ahead!"

I tried not to laugh in her face. My fault? Give me a break! 30 seconds earlier she had been pulling at my hand, trying to get free, so she could run on her own! I finally let her go, and it's my fault?

I suddenly had another thought. When "bad things" happen in life, who do we immediately blame? Don't most people turn to God and say "Why? Why did you let this happen? It's Your fault!" Really? Is it really God's fault that I got hurt when I made a bad choice? Is it really God's fault when pain comes into my life?

You know what I think? I think that God walks with us, much like I was walking with Kelsey. He protects us from danger. He helps us make smart choices. But there comes a point when He allows us to "run on ahead." He let's go of our hands so we can experience freedom, independence. Not in a "lose your salvation" kind of way. I mean more in a metaphorical sense. He allows us to freely choose something, knowing we might get hurt. Does that make Him mean? Not any more mean than it makes me for letting my daughter run on ahead!

I heard someone last week talk about failure. He said "failure is essential." Without failure, we would not learn. When we make a mistake, that is our opportunity to learn! I hope Kelsey learned to be more careful when running through a parking lot. Sometimes we have to learn the same lesson several times, but we hopefully learn something from our mistakes. Without ever falling, without ever failing, we would not learn the way we do through our failures and mistakes.

So let me ask you this. Is God "holding your hand"? Are you begging God to let you run on ahead? Are you trying to pull away so that you can go try something new and different? When He does let you go, and you fall flat on your face, just remember who it was who was pulling in the first place! Don't run back to God in tears blaming Him!

Hold on to His hand, but be willing to learn from your mistakes as well. Remember, failure is essential.

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