“I don’t want to!” three-year-old Lexi protests, bursting into tears. Undaunted by her tantrum, I scoop her into my arms and swing her onto my hip. “Lexi,” I speak matter-of-factly, “Now is time to clean up the classroom. You need to obey with a good attitude. Let’s pick up the Lego’s together. Do you see that Lego horse on the floor? I want you to pick it up, and we’ll take it to the Lego bin together.”
She stops crying, and for the next two minutes she is engaged in picking up Lego’s independently. She has another meltdown (it’s almost the end of the day, so I assume she is tired). “Lexi,” I pick her up again. “You are a good helper with those Lego’s. Now I want you to help me put away the Connect Four game.” Again, she stops crying. After we clear away the game pieces, we move to the last table to put away the toys scattered over it. I set her down so she can do the job independently. A minute later she is in tears again. “Lexi,” I pick her up a third time. “You’ve been a good helper. Thank you for helping put the toys away.” As I hold her on my hip, her crying stops and her smile returns.
Embracing the little girl, I reflect how much like her I am. How often I protest, “I don’t want to!” in response to God’s directive. Yet God doesn’t let me evade the calling. Rather, He draws me into His arms. Held close to Him and carried by Him to do the very thing I initially resist, I find to my surprise the fulfillment I’ve been craving all along.
“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).