Today’s scripture readings speak to me of trust and obedience. Joshua tells the Israelites that, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” The Psalmist proclaims, “You will show me the path to life.” And in Matthew, “Jesus teaches the disciples through children, saying the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
I love Joshua’s speech to the Israelites. Do you remember how God brought us out of Egypt, took care of us and performed great miracles? And you know how you’ve been worshipping idols recently? This is not a good thing. You need to trust and serve the Lord. Or be ready for a whupping. Pretty simple. And in Matthew, people bring children to Jesus for his blessing. And the disciples rebuke them. But Jesus uses the moment to teach the disciples. Christ embraces the children and tells the disciples that, instead of disdaining the children, they should aspire to be more like them. Trusting. Remember the old hymn? Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey. That’s what today’s scripture seems to be about.
Trust in God. Obey God. Seems pretty simple. So why is it such a hard thing to do?
My family vacationed recently in Yellowstone National Park. It was wonderful. Incredible scenery. Wildlife of all sorts. Beautiful weather. It was a memorable and relaxing vacation. Finally, we loaded up in the van and started our long trek home. We had been on the road a few hours and as we approached the town of Tetonia, Idaho, I asked if anyone needed a rest stop. Zach, my 16 year old, said he needed to stop. He went on to say that he was having chest pains and trouble breathing. That got our attention right away. We stopped at a gas station and by the time we got Zach inside, he was white as a ghost, physically ill and gasping. His right lung had partially collapsed. It was a frightening moment as Zach lay on the floor of the restroom gasping for breath. The people in Tetonia were kind, compassionate and helpful. We got Zach stabilized and I asked a young man for directions to the nearest hospital. It would be a 60 mile drive over the mountains. We loaded Zach in the van and started down the curvy highway to Jackson, Wyoming. As we zoomed down the highway, I came upon a slow-moving, large tractor. I slowed down and became very frustrated that I could not get around this guy. As we approached the top of a hill, the tractor driver signaled me to go around. I zoomed around him and waved my thanks as I went by. Later, I thought about the fact that I had placed my life and the life of my wife and children in the hands of a stranger. I could not see over the hill, but the tractor driver, sitting much higher, could see. When he signaled me to go around, I trusted him completely. A total stranger. Someone I knew nothing about. Why did I think I could trust him? When he signaled me around, why did I obey?
Isn’t it funny. I know God. I know God loves me. I know God cares for me and wants only the best for me. God is trustworthy. God sees the road ahead of me. And yet, when I come to a bump in the road and get a signal or prod or any sort of guidance from God, I’m hesitant to take it. Why? Why do I think I always know what’s best for me? Why wouldn’t I trust God? My prayer today is for those of us who love God, yet still have problems with trust and obedience. And by the way, Zach had a tube inserted into his chest to drain the air and allow his lung to re-inflate. As of this writing, he is healing and doing very well.
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