View From The High Chair

July 9, 2001
by Caron Johnson-Rivera

Mark 5:36b – Don't be afraid, just believe. (NIV)

The life of a toddler is nothing short of amazing. Everything is new, interesting, and a learning experience. There are no jaded outlooks or set ways to be broken. When you are in diapers, life is a free-for-all.

I learned amazing lessons from my toddler as I watched from the sidelines. For instance, he fearlessly climbed out on the top of his high chair, but he gingerly backed off the four-inch drop on the carport. He might get a bump if he missed the step in the backyard, but he would definitely crack his skull if he took a nose-dive off the top of the high chair! Yet try to explain that to a sixteen-month-old!

Like many of us, he has applied his sense of caution without regard to actual outcome. How many times have I, a grown, "mature" adult, fearlessly attempted the absurd without a moment's consideration of the cost to my mental, emotional, physical or spiritual well being? How many "limbs" have I climbed out on — without looking to see how far it was to the hard ground?

Oh, I have definitely made some ridiculous choices along the way. Like my son who sits on the edge of his chair three feet up in the air, my definition of good was based on what I could see, not on what the true reality was.

His backing off the step is familiar too. He goes with caution, scouting and turning just so, maneuvering until he is absolutely sure he will put his foot in just the right spot — even though he can see safety all the time. Does that ever strike close to home! I have backed up and gingerly stepped a thousand times, and usually it was for things that were really safe and easy. For example, it took years to climb off the step and put my faith in God.

Yet once I finally did take that step, it did not matter if I fell or not, for He was there to catch me and help me try again. I wasted so much time spent worrying about unnecessary details, and all He wanted me to do was to take the first step.

Perched on the high chair, my son made me take endless deep breaths; backing down the steps, he saw the depths of my patience. "Heavenly Father," I asked time and time again, "Does this look and sound familiar?"

Prayer: Dear Father, give us each your eyes and your heart that we may learn to trust you and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Help us to know when to proceed with caution and when to fly fearlessly on your wings, and always to remember that we will never fall so far that you cannot catch us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Caron Johnson-Rivera
Bradenton, Florida, USA

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