I attended a birthday party for a little boy. Family and friends had gathered to celebrate. His dad told him that before he could have his birthday cake, he had to finish his plate. There was one pea left.
But the little boy didn’t want to eat the pea. In spite of his dad coaxing him and encouraging him, he refused. I greatly respect his dad for not giving in. He was calling his son on his bad attitude and his disobedience, and stood firm, even though this was very awkward for all the guests.
The battle went on for an hour. There was a lot of crying coming from that little boy upstairs, who wouldn’t give in. We were all grieved.
Then he came down, went to his plate, and ate his pea. Hurrah! We could now all enjoy our birthday cake with him. He was a happy little boy again, and we played with him and enjoyed him as though nothing had ever happened. Life was good again.
I am going through a book called Questions for Jesus by Tony Stotzfus. Here is one of his questions:
“Father, you experience loss every day when we do stupid things, and you grieve over it like Jesus wept over Jerusalem. And yet the Spirit that is you is called the ‘Comforter.’ How does comfort come in the midst of that? How do you grieve and still remain God?”
This question goes to the heart of the wonderful character of God. How does a God who hates sin, who has the foundation of His throne as righteousness and truth, respond when one of his kids is acting badly? Not by pouncing on us but by comforting us! By helping us remember who we are and getting back to living that out.
I invite you to spend some time interacting with God as you answer Tony’s questions above.