“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Not long ago I watched my six year old granddaughter cross the monkey bars on the new play set her Daddy built for her and her sister. She’s pretty small, and the bars are at least seven foot off the ground. The second time across her hands started slipping because dad had done a demonstration with sunscreen on his hands. There she was hanging from the third bar begging for help down, but Dad told her to fall. He’d put a lot of sand right under the bars for just that purpose. All she had to do was let go. Since her feet were just about my chest level, my natural instinct was to rescue her. But my husband and I have resolved to not override our daughters and sons-in-law when it comes to the grandkids. She held on for a while waiting for the rescue, but her dad kept coaching her to let go, and when she finally did, she discovered she was fine.
I thought about it most of the afternoon. She’d learned a good lesson and jumped down on purpose a few times after the forced fall. My son-in-law would’ve never let her get hurt. She and I both had to trust he knew what he was talking about. Had I saved her, she may have never had the fun she experienced in that half hour following her brave moment.
It reminded me of the way God allows us to learn lessons. Often he lets us get right in the middle of things so we’ll trust Him enough to let go. It’s
generally not easy, but those scary moments make the next task more manageable and sometimes even fun! The key is to be like a six year old and trust our Father knows what’s good for us and always acts in our best interest.
But there was a second educational moment in those monkey bars. As a mom it’s especially hard to see our kids in the middle of those lessons God needs them to learn. Even our friends can manage to get themselves in a mess sometimes. And whether it’s our child or our BFF, we’re always tempted to bail them out. So often we think we’re helping, when actually we’re standing in the way of a lesson God wants the person we love to learn.
God’s ways are higher than ours. He knows what He’s doing. He sometimes allows us and the ones we care about to get into precarious situations so He can teach. When it comes to our kids and our friends, we’re tempted to make their life easier. But it’s important we pray and make sure our Daddy in Heaven isn’t giving them scary instructions. Sometimes when it seems they’re hanging on for dear life, our Father is telling them to let go. We have to trust that our Savior meant it when He said, “. . . I have . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Sometimes we have to do the hardest thing . . . stand back and do nothing.
Don’t worry, there will be times we’ll be needed to swoop in and rescue, you don’t have to give that up altogether. But unfortunately for us fixers, there are a lot more occasions when God has a plan that’s bigger than we can imagine. He just needs someone to let go.