God and Freedom

It was a great holiday weekend – always fun to do Fourth of July at our church. We do the classic hot dogs, homemade ice cream and other desserts, all capped off watching the local fireworks we can see from the parking lot. What a blast to have people of all ages – families and youth and young adults all together!

One of the best parts of the night for me was sitting in my lawn chair watching a little guy who’s just about a year old. He was sitting with his parents, grandparents, and a great-grandmother – three generations! Nathan toddled around putting to good use his now found ability to RUN. At times mom and dad would watch over him, but it was mostly granddad.

As I watched Nathan making his way, trying to throw a ball, being stopped before he went out into a potentially dangerous parking lot, I realized my parents and grandparents weren’t there to watch over me (when I stuck my foot in my mouth I had to pry it out myself!). As we grow we can do more on our own, and we take on the responsibility of knowing better than to run out into the parking lot. And yet, I also know I need the wisdom of those who have been down the road before me. I need those who have raised their kids and sent them to college and helped them plan weddings and welcomed in those grand-babies.

It makes me think about what Jesus said about a childlike faith –

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. (Mark 10:15)

Makes me wonder if God wouldn’t want me to live with a little more Nathan-like attitude. Why is it that I fear living life with great abandon? Why do I hesitate to step out in new directions? Okay, it may not always be exactly the direction God would want me to go, but Nathan wandered all over the grassy area without being redirected, he was free to roam. When he went in a dangerous direction he was being carefully watched and corralled. So, can I trust God to be there with me even as I try to figure out the way to go? He may not always be holding my hand, but He says He will never leave me. Can I trust God will do what He can to keep me from harm’s way? And, for those who want to say God doesn’t just stop us because we have free will – I agree. But, God does put warning signs around us and He gives us those warnings very explicitly in His inspired biblical witness.

Yeah, I think I want to live more like Nathan – trying to do new things, enjoying the things that come my way, and knowing there is a loving hand to keep me safe, give me a drink when I need it, and making sure I get some rest at the end of a long journey. It’s not so hard when we realize that God loves us even more than any parent or grandparent ever could.

I invite you to join me. This week  live life with greater abandon.

Holy high five to you, Mike.


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