Yesterday, TD stood there sobbing, looking out the back door. “They’re already swinging!”
Sure enough, Brown Sugar and Lone Ranger were churning away. We’ve dismantled part of the playset, so at the moment, we have just two working seats. TD was late to the party and had missed the opportunity to nab a swing.
“Why don’t you go out anyway? I’m sure you’ll get a turn.” As I encouraged him, I prayed that that would be the case. While God might extend goodness and mercy, it’s not guaranteed to flow from the little people. But out he went, and I watched from the window as he stood there in the yard in all his hopeless misery while Brown Sugar and Lone Ranger pumped harder and higher. Please, Lord, touch their hearts.
A minute later, Lone Ranger leaped to the ground in mid-swing and skipped over. She wrapped her arm around TD and guided him over to one of the now-empty swings—with only one glance at the window where I happened to stand. For good measure, Brown Sugar hopped from hers, too. All was right with the world, at least for a minute.
Now, the jaded among us would say Lone Ranger only sacrificed her seat because she knew I was watching. Maybe so. But don’t we choose certain paths because we know God our Father has His eyes and hands on us? I mean…really. It’s not out of my inner sainthood that I once gave up my Prince concert tickets because of missing choir rehearsal. It’s not out of the goodness of my heart that I walk farther to return the shopping cart instead of pushing it into a nearby parking space. It’s not my love of public speaking that makes me lead devotion rather than shouting “Amen!” from a back corner. It’s not always in me to forgive, love, or even talk to you.
It’s because the Lord is watching and praying at the window.
It’s easy to think it’s me, that I’m doing good things because I’m good. But only God is good. (Mark 10:18) Like Lone Ranger, I look to Him and seek His direction. I obey Him and seek His approval. Yet…it’s more than that. I also pray that He searches my heart for any wicked or selfish motivation and that He will lead me in righteous paths. (Psalm 23:3, 139:23, 24) I want my acts of good will to flow from what my Good Father wills for my life. I honor my God Who looks out for me; I love my God Who lives in me.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13