Follow by Email

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Look at Me, I'm Smart!

The very modest building where we attend church.
Last Sunday in our adult Sunday School class, our discussion was interrupted by our amusement at the behavior of a three year old girl, whom I will call Lia (not her real name). Lia’s mother was at home tending a brand new baby boy, so Lia and her older brother had come to church with their grandparents.   Lia wandered in and out of the classroom several times, until finally her grandmother whispered orders to her to leave the grownups’ classroom – that Grandmother was going to lock the door to the room, and Lia was to stay out so the grownups could continue their discussion.  Lia was ushered out of the room, and Grandmother sat down right next to the locked door.

But Lia walked around the hallways to the door on the other side of the room, and, promptly and triumphantly, entered the room.  Her grandmother rolled her eyes, but the rest of us laughed.  Her grandmother promptly took her by the hand and escorted her all the way back to her class.

Clever, and  proud to be a big sister!
Lia tried to obey her grandmother.  She understood what she was not to do – she was not to come back into the classroom via the one door.  Lia didn’t get the part about not coming back, just the part about not using the door.  So she thought Grandmother would be very happy to see what a clever girl she was, coming through the door on the opposite side of the classroom.  Lia had solved the problem. She had not used the forbidden door, but she had still gained access to the classroom.  In some ways, she really had been clever – she solved a problem that had challenged her thinking.  I am sure that on the walk back to her class, Grandmother and Lia had a talk about what Grandmother really meant, and what would be expected in the future. 

Oh, by the way – when church was over, Lia left her class and waited for her grandparents at their car.  Since the car was locked, she climbed up and waited on top of it.  She was surprised by her grandparents’ objection, since there were (older) children in the back of the pickup truck right next to her grandparents’ car, and no one was objecting to that. 

Lia made her decisions based on her grasp of the evidence around her.  Don’t we do the same?  We laughed at her because we were surprised at her solution to her problem with the door, and we smiled when we saw her grandfather taking her off the roof of his car, but Lia’s logic was sound, as far as she could reason.  It was humorous because her decisions contrasted with the rules our social background. 

In addition, we weren’t the ones responsible for training Lia, so we could afford to be amused – the grandparents were the ones who had to deal with the appropriateness of Lia’s actions, and help her understand that she would be expected to make different decisions the next time.  But even they laughed about the situation.  And when Lia’s mother and I talked about Lia’s experience, her mother rolled her eyes, but smiled.  We are all in training, all our life.  We are all developmental beings.  And thankfully, most of our mistakes become ones we can laugh at – if not now, then later.

In reflecting on this little episode, I wonder how many times our choices make God laugh.  We solve the problems life hands us as best we can, based upon our grasp of the evidence before us.  We might consider many different solutions, then choose one and put it into action.  We think we’ve solved a problem, but really, we have just arrived back at the same set of circumstances via another route.  How many times are we satisfied that we have done exactly what is expected, but our Heavenly Father has just smiled and shaken His head?  How many times have we understood only part of the directions?  How many times have we decided to do something because we see someone else did something similar, and that worked, out, so of course, our solution should be successful?  And how many times has the Lord wanted to just take us by the hand and walk us through what is really expected? 
How am I doing, Father?
Do I make you laugh, or weep?

I try very hard not to make God weep over my actions.  I try to make the choices He would have me make, to say what He would have me say, to teach what He would have me teach.  But I’m sure there are days when He throws His head back and laughs at my “cleverness”.   I am sure that there are times when He wants to say, “Daughter, you just don’t get it, do you?”  I am grateful for His patience!

The next time I fuss and fume over some problem, I hope I can remember Lia, and rather than simply coming back to the same circumstance via another route, I can try to listen again to all the directions.  I’ll try to understand what is really expected, and solve a problem in a way that makes my Father in Heaven nod with approval.  I’m not finished learning, and I’m glad He knows that.

There is a poem from my youth that rings in my head:

The Lesson
By Carol Lynn Pearson

Yes, my fretting,
Frowning child,
I could cross
The room to you
More easily.
But I’ve already
Learned to walk,
So I make you
Come to me.
Let go now
You see?
Oh, remember
This simple lesson,
And when
In later years
You cry out
With tight fists
And tears
Oh, help me,
God, please.
Just listen
And you’ll hear
A silent voice:
I would, child,
I would.
But it’s you,
Not I,
Who needs to try


  1. This is another one that should be posted on FB! God must be getting a real belly laugh from some of the stuff I do! Thanks for the poem, Bea; it's new to me, but I have a poetry file on my desktop and I hope you don't mind, but I added this one to it. It's really meaningful to me. Your blog is one thing I look forward to, my friend. I can guarantee that your readers are also beyond the veil.

  2. another wonderful message you shared there - looks like you are really enjoying being there - Have a wonderful Christmas - stay cool - can't say stay warm like we can here - high today was about 26 -- brrrr!