|While cutting the grass the other day, my two sons were attempting to climb a tree in our front yard. My eldest son (6yrs old) had climbed this tree before by himself, but for whatever reason, was having a trouble this time around. He had his hands on a limb and kept trying, feverishly, to use his feet to move up the trunk of the tree. His feet kept slipping, over and over. I could see the frustration that was growing, and that this was going to end badly. He kept moving his feet faster and faster, yet they kept slipping.
What he had failed to see was that where he was placing his feet on the trunk, was smooth and too slick to gain traction. He didn't notice a knot in the tree, just to his right...a place to gain traction and get up the tree. I walked over to help him see what he wasn't seeing, and ease the frustration. As I walked toward him I told him, "Cole, Daddy can help you". He didn't hear me, he kept with his plan even though his anger was growing. "Cole, Daddy can help you get up there." Still there were no signs that he heard me. At this point he had become so frustrated he was beginning to cry, yet still, he kept with the frantic movement of his feet, trying to climb that tree.
"Cole, stop, listen to daddy, I can help you, I know where you need to put your feet." By this time I was standing right next to him as he was throwing a fit, while still trying the same unsuccessful method of climbing. His anger and frustration kept growing, yet he wouldn't stop and listen to what I was telling him. Finally, I reached up and grabbed him around his mid section, holding him firm but gently and pulled him down from the limb he was hanging on, talking to him the whole time. "It is OK, let me help you, let me show how to climb it." Crying, he fought my embrace, trying to continue in what had only frustrated him. All the while I held him in his frustration.
Finally, he calmed down, and looked at me, and I was able to tell him how to climb that tree. After listening to me, he was able to get up the first time.
As frustrating as it was to me to see him struggle when all he had to do was listen to me, I wonder how frustrating it is to our Heavenly Father when He is wanting to guide us in life, but we are too busy following our own plans, even if they only frustrate, to listen. We struggle, cry, and fight, doing the same things over and over again, getting the same unfulfilling results, all while ignoring the truth that there is a Heavenly Father who wants to embrace us, to hold us, and is saying to us, "child stop, and listen".
The Psalmist reminds us of this in Psalm 46, verse 10. "Be still, and know that I am God!" If you are struggling with something, wether it be something new or a habitual problem, hear the God who loves you calling now to be still and listen. By the way, being still should not only happen when we are at our wits end, but should be a part of our everyday. When we practice being still, listening in prayer and with God's Word, and calling out to him on a daily basis, we find peace instead of frustration, no matter what problem we are faced with.
I hear him saying to me "Ben, just stop".....stop moving, stop filling your days with so much busy work, stop relying on your own knowledge, stop believing you can figure things out on your own, stop forgetting that I love you and am right here....just stop your struggling and listen."
What do you hear him saying?
Labels: listening, psalm 46, struggle, submission