All my boys are climbers. My first born spends the better part of his summer several stories in the air- one of the many benefits of the stand of pine trees in the backyard. But I think the youngest may take the climbing cake. He was slower to walk than his siblings but compensated my scaling every surface possible. So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I turned around and found him on the top of the bar stool. I had actually just returned him to the floor and I thought that pushing in the dining room chair and moving the bar stool back to it’s home had taken care of it. I must have been too engrossed in the thousand piece puzzle on the counter though because I didn’t notice that he (two feet away) had pulled the stool back out and scaled it; this time without the aid of a dining room chair. There he sat. Proud and undeterred as he pointed to daddy and I at the counter and jabbered something.
I realized then that He just wanted to be with us.
This week was not my finest. I would not have won any parenting awards (I may have actually received a few demerits). I struggled to remember the truth of the gospel and to quiet myself before God. The times I did try to make space for Jesus things usually went awry and I got interrupted before getting to the bedrock of my soul. Turns out that interruptions, though valid obstacles to encountering God, can easily become excuses not to try. In many ways I was content to play the whack-a-mole game with life despite the fact that it ended in frustrated exhaustion. It’s like gambling and mastering all the circumstances is the big jackpot. The allure that I can spin all these plates myself and have it together and life will be tidy and right and I will have won! But the odds are always in favor of the house (literally) and despite winning a few hands, if you keep playing you will inevitably go bankrupt. And man, have I ever felt bankrupt this week.
Regrettably I had to take my eighteen month old off the stool. After all he just go his cast off two weeks ago. But as I did I made a note. That little guy used all his might to move what he had to move and pull as hard as he had to pull to get up that stool. Every ounce of intellect, dexterity, balance and strength went into that attempt. And he didn’t give up when I took him down the first time. He got right back up. He left the lowly vantage point of the stained and littered floor and determined to get to higher ground. He wanted to be with us. He wanted to do what we were doing and humility begged me to take note.
We don’t have to earn our way to God. Works based righteousness is no righteousness. Yet there remains for the believer, a daily process of rising above our mess. Of doing what must be done, moving what must be moved, throwing all our strength and understanding to leave that lowly plain and climb to where He is. This is more of a mental exercise than any true reality because God is with us even in our lowly mess. But there is a climbing we do in our soul to see Him. We stop clamoring in this lowly place and reach up. And why?
Because we just want to be with Him.
God, I have been content on the ground. I have spent my efforts and energies spinning my wheels when you have purposed to fellowship with me. I have wasted all my time trying to master things that you can speak to in just a moment and set to rights. I have not stopped to do the one thing that truly matters. I have chosen the lesser thing in so many ways. I’m sorry. Thank you for your mercy and thank you for speaking to me in the beautiful face of my son this morning. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to chose the better thing. Help me to move what needs to be move and climb what needs to be climbed to have my heart be where you are. Help me not be deterred when I don’t get it on my first attempt. Let me press in to fight the one fight that’s worth it each day. To know You! To dwell in your house, to sit at your feet and to believe all that You say. You are the better thing and I surrender my desire to master my life. Continue to have your way in me. You are good and all beauty and peace is found in you. Amen.