Only a few more yards. One foot in front of the other. You’re almost there, close enough for them to hear your voice. You can stop running now. “I am coming! I am coming!”
“What took you so long?” my husband asked, his voice equal parts concern and confusion.
The sultry summer temperatures had finally dropped below 100 degrees, so we packed up our girls and headed to the local park. Upon arrival, we learned that the park would close in 15 minutes and we needed to move our car to avoid being locked in.
Overjoyed at the prospect of running without pushing a stroller, I quickly offered to run back and move our car. I grabbed the keys, cutting my husband off in the middle of giving me directions. “I’m fine; I’ll catch up with you in a few minutes. Relax.”
Suddenly, unfamiliar surroundings overshadowed my confidence and newfound freedom, and I immediately regretted my hasty decision to strike out without listening to my husband’s counsel. After a few wrong turns, I continued sprinting down the path before me, eager to reunite with my family. Left or right? I don’t know. It’s just a big loop, so I will find them eventually. Right?
And eventually, I did—four miles later, my face the color of a blood-red tomato and my shirt a new shade of sweat-soaked dark pink. Turns out, at the split, had I turned left (like my husband tried to tell me to do), the “rendezvous” spot would have been much closer. However, I turned right, taking the longest route back to my family.
Limping by then, I approached my family. My voice cracked as I held back tears of relief. “I missed the turn. I ran the entire loop.” My husband erupted with laughter. Staring at me incredulously he said, “Well, maybe one day you will learn to listen first.” Adding next, “At least you had a good work out.”
“Why are y’all laughing?” my oldest daughter inquired. “Did you give Momma the wrong directions?” Bless her heart—at least for now, I can do no wrong in her eyes. “No, Momma did not listen to Daddy’s advice because I thought that I already knew what he was going to tell me.”
You see, I ignored my husband because I assumed he just wanted to prove that he knew more than me. But no. Instead, he had intended to help me—speaking from love and concern, not arrogance or conceit.
And just like my hasty reaction to my husband that day in the park, I often respond similarly to the Lord. I brush off God’s commandments as suggestions, ignore His leading and proceed with my own plans. Tired of following God’s direction, thinking that I don’t really need His guidance, I yank the spiritual keys and take off, abandoning my Biblical compass.
Adam and Eve knew about questioning God’s directions. We all disobey God for a number of reasons, but at the bottom of our disobedience is our belief that we know what’s better for us than God. Satan is not original; he employs the same tactics as he did in the Garden of Eden. Why? Because we keep falling for the same line—the schemes he used on Eve are the same ones he uses on us today—casting doubt and confusion about God’s instructions and our ability to be our own god. “He is holding you back from something great. You can listen to God later; now is the time to have fun and do what YOU want,” the deceiver whispers in our ears. He skillfully disguises his lies among God’s truths (2 Corinthians 11:14). Masked as a sympathetic and understanding friend, Satan has one purpose—to kill and destroy God’s good creation—you and me (John 10:10).
The good news: God never abandons us, no matter how many wrong turns we make, barriers for protection we knock down, or safety limits we exceed. Sure, we will most likely reap consequences for not waiting or listening, for running off on our own sooner or later. Spiritual muscles tear, hearts break, resolve weakens, all reminders of the distance we covered living in sin and rebellion. But with repentance and obedience, in time, the Lord mends our souls and makes us fit to “run the race God set out for us” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
So, unlike my response to my husband, brushing off his well-meaning advice as patronizing, let us wait on the Lord and obey the Word of God, for His intentions toward us are always pure and right. Not only will we experience peace and assurance during the twist and turns of life, we will enjoy freedom and happiness walking with the Lord as our guide.