We’ve all seen it happen in the grocery store parking lot. The back door of the minivan is open and a mom is leaning in, battling her toddler in an attempt to get her into a car seat. The little girl is too young to do it herself, and she doesn’t have the capacity to understand that it’s for her own good. So she balks and cries and carries on, stiffening herself into a board that will not bend to sit and be buckled in to safety.
There are times when a child will settle down and fall asleep once the fight is over. And there are others who cry and wail and carry on the whole way home. Mom drives and tries to keep one eye on the road ahead while the other eye looks in the rearview mirror. She attempts to pacify her little one by talking sense into the situation, and in an effort to calm her child says, “It’s okay. I know you don’t like it, but we’ll be home soon. I put you there because I love you and want you safe. I can’t take you out yet. Please believe me.”
How often do we go through life and find ourselves in a car-seat situation? We, too, might be crying and carrying on because certainly, this is not where we are supposed to be. We, too, might say, “I want to get out. I want the ride to stop. I want to do what I want right now. Let me out of this car—this situation, this limitation, this troubling time.”
But who is listening to our complaints? Who is the parent in the driver’s seat? Could God be the one looking at us, attempting to reassure by saying: “It’s okay. I know you don’t like it, but it will be over soon. Your prayers will be answered at just the right time. You will be at peace once again. I put you there because I love you and want you safe. It’s the best place for you to be right now. Please believe me.” Do we have faith to believe this? Can we imagine ourselves, tantrum-ridden children, angry about being restricted at this moment but trusting that our best Parent, God, truly knows what He is doing and will take us to a place of peace? Like a good Parent, He lets us balk and carry on. But like a trusting child, let’s bend, let’s sit, and let’s try to believe Him through the ride.