Today I spent my day off doing what I usually do on my days off, and that was to get a little work done in my yard. Like clockwork, autumn has finally arrived and along with the cooler weather, the trees have begun to shed their leaves. So, I spent the late afternoon piling the leaves and dead limbs up in order to burn them. However, this year my one and a half year old son, Conner, decided he wanted to help out.
Conner’s entered into a new stage of growth where he really enjoys doing whatever it is that I’m doing. If I’m wearing my favorite ball cap, he wants to wear it, too. If I just took off my boots, he wants to put them on. If I’m gathering sticks into a pile, he wants to help gather sticks and put them into that same pile. Today it became a game and he was running all over the yard looking for sticks! Understanding all too well that this eagerness to help out and please his Mommy and Daddy would not last forever (am I right, parents of teenagers?!), I made the mental note to soak it in and enjoy it while it lasted.
However, there was one place in the back yard we couldn’t allow Conner to go, and that was near the burn pile. Conner didn’t like the fact that his mother and I were keeping him away from it. He kicked, he screamed, he cried, and he even pulled against her, fighting tooth-and-nail for the chance to do what he wanted to do—play near the fire. So while Conner thought we were being mean and restrictive parents with our arbitrary and over-burdensome rules, his mother and I knew what was best for him. And even though he didn’t understand why he couldn’t have his way, the important part was that we understood that we were truly protecting him from what he doesn’t yet understand. And this got me to thinking:
"How many of us are like my one and a half year old son in that we kick, scream, fight, and pull against God simply because we want to play too close to the fires of life?"
Surely if Conner could speak he would’ve told us that he didn’t see any harm in what he wanted to do. And many people use this same excuse to justify the things we partake in. So this begs the question: Was I right by stopping my son from playing in the fire where he could get severely burned or possibly killed?
No logically thinking person would say that if I truly loved him I should’ve just let him do whatever he wanted to do. Yet there are those who claim to be the children of God who say that they can play in the fires of sin because God loves them too much to let them burn. They usually say something along the lines of, "The love of God is greater than any sin!" or, "An all-loving God wouldn't send someone to hell!" But the truth is that God gave us rules to avoid certain activities to make this life easier—not harder—on us! I’ve never met an alcoholic, drug addict, sex addict, or anyone else who is helplessly addicted to the sins of this life for that matter, who would tell you they love being slaves to whatever it is that has them shackled. And more importantly, consider also that He gave us laws in order to keep us from getting burned in the first place!
So had I let Conner play in that fire I would’ve been a negligent parent and the same would be true of God. It’s irrational to think of an Earthly parent rationalizing such dangerous behavior by saying they let their child do so because they loved them, and yet we are to believe a greater, wiser being such as God would be guilty of this?
Today, Conner gave me a great reminder about the Heavenly Father, the rules He’s given us, and His reasoning behind them. They’re there to keep us from getting burned. And regardless of how much we kick, scream, whine, pout, and argue with Him regarding why we feel we should be allowed to do whatever it is we want to do, we have to remember that sometimes the best way to help our Heavenly Father is to trust Him enough to stay away from the places where we can get burn in the first place.