Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "No Never Alone"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 7:13 – Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. (ESV)
In early March, as I sat in the car, waiting for the parents to leave the car park, I noticed a grandmother with a small boy, no more than six years old. She was encouraging the lad to get into school. He wanted the grandmother to walk to the end of the long fence along his side, next to the car park.
He stood resolute and defiant. Clearly this boy was not going to move. I was impressed that such a small child could be so fervent. The issue for the grandmother was that "his" side of the metal picket fence was the dangerous side, not the safe side that keeps the school path and the walkers protected from the cars. The grandmother refused to come to the car park side of the railings, and the small boy resolutely refused to do as he was being asked, so they reached an impasse. He stepped up his demands from request into a lot of screaming.
Eventually, the grandmother walked inside the fence to the other end of it, so as to escort the child towards the gate and school entrance a few feet away. At this point, the boy became apoplectic. As grandma reached out, he suddenly ran off across the car park away from her, screaming and crying.
It was at this point that my thoughts changed from being a sympathetic but mildly amused spectator, into being one ready to jump out of the car and chase after the child to head him off from potential danger. I hesitated and did not mindlessly rush at this because I did not want to add fuel to the fire of the boy's meltdown, or to speed him up headlong into commercial traffic, because there is a major by-pass that goes around the car park and school. Other parents had also perceived the danger and helped out.
Knowing nothing of the situation but being familiar with children, I think that there must be more to this child's behaviour than just being a power-play between two family members.
There was something much darker, much deeper hiding behind the boy's calamitous display and meltdown. This was a display of anger from a distraught child. So, what had started out as a simple request to walk into the playground with the grandmother evoked a deeper problem.
Hebrews 3:15 – As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." (ESV)
This small boy brought to mind some of the people I have known over the years who have sadly run away from God, despite God calling out to them, and who, in the process of their denial, perished. They did not care about the danger that they were in, because they were hurting inside. We need to pray about such rebel hearts:
Prayer: Lord, first of all, we praise You for Your patience with us, and we lift up to You all those things in our lives that may still be in rebellion to Your will. Enable us to overcome our reticence to allow You into these situations. Lord, we also lift up into Your tender care this little chap and other prodigals like him who are in denial of their reality. We pray for Your Holy Spirit to meet them at their point of need, whether they recognize it or not. Help us to be Your shepherds, in the situations in which we find ourselves, to encourage them safely through the gates into salvation. Bring healing, peace, and protection, and at the right time, may they hear Your voice. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.