“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Behind our home an oak tree draped the open meadow. Dead limbs teetered on each other and we would curiously watch as the wind would rock them.
“Mom, why can’t we play in the meadow?” my son asked each day.
“It’s too dangerous, the dead limbs could fall,”I replied. I would spend another fifteen minutes explaining why the limbs were dangerous.
“Are you sure they could crunch me?” he would ask again.
“I am very sure they would crunch you, me, and even dad,” I said. “I would love for you to go and play in the empty lot, but I would never forgive myself if something happened to you.”
“Mom, no bad thing will happen,” his sweet little face reassured me.
“Wait patiently until all the dead limbs fall to the ground and I will let you play in the meadow and climb the tree.”
A severe thunderstorm plowed through our neighborhood one afternoon. Our little rental swayed and shook. I gathered my three frightened children and waited out the storm in a closet.
“Mom, why does God make storms anyway? I’m tired of sitting in this closet, I want to go play. Can we go see if it’s over yet?”
My son wasn’t the most patient child. We took a break from the closet and went into the kitchen for a snack. I opened the back door to let them all peer out at the slowing rain. As we gathered around the back door lightening blinded us all and an ear-deafening explosion reverberated across the field into our small kitchen, nearly knocking us all down.
Calming everyone, I looked out toward the old oak tree. Most of it had descended upon the meadow leaving splintered projectiles sticking up from the ground. In a moment, the tree that had been such a danger had been reduced into toothpicks.
My son’s mouth was as wide as his eyes as he turned to me and said, “Wow, mom, you were right. That tree was dangerous!”
Well, it wasn’t the danger I saw that convinced him, it was the danger orchestrated by nature that convinced him.
Seizing the opportunity to teach this young man in the making a great Biblical message, I replied, “Well you wouldn’t listen to your mom so the Good Lord had to show you just how dangerous that old tree was. Maybe from now on you’ll listen and not question me so much.”
He didn’t miss a beat and chimed in, “Well, Mom, I think you’ve got it all wrong. I prayed this morning that God would do something about the dead limbs so I could play. You said before that God does more than we ask him, didn’t you? He was just showing off at how fast he could do it.”
I thought I was teaching my son a lesson that day. I had it backwards.