"...And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
1 Corinthians 10:13
Now, before you judge too harshly my skills as a parent, let me just begin by telling you that my son is quick! He has phantom-like skills that enable him to move with cat-like precision and agility. I realized very early on (as the kid took his first step at 9 months old, was walking by 10 months and then went right into sprinting by 11 months) this skill will be his double-edged sword. Able to accomplish a lot he most undoubtedly will. However, it is glaringly obvious this skill will also get him in unfortunate predicaments. Of this, I am most certain. The story that follows is of the latter…
Feeling adventurous and craving adult conversation, we tried something new today – play date. So in preparation for this all out event I immediately began to prioritize what needed to be accomplished in order to make this successful. Step one: pray. “Dear God, please let this begin and end well. And, please, please, let there be nothing broken, destroyed or colored on upon our time of departure.”
Surprisingly the day had been going well. That was until I heard the crunching and chewing…I saw him there, mouth moving. I will be honest. The first thought that popped into my head was that I didn’t remember serving lunch yet. Perplexed, I tried to access my depleted and almost non-existent short term memory of the last five minutes (to which I then frantically tried to confirm that it had only been five minutes). What did I serve? I quickly realized I had never served lunch, and before the thought even came to an end I found myself diving to the ground ready to swipe whatever was in my little boy’s mouth out.
Like a detective scanning a crime scene for clues, I scanned the immediate surroundings looking for any evidence of what had been taken. As I looked to my left I saw it there– cat food. With a little cat-like precision myself, before he even knew what was happening, I lunged toward my little guy to sweep and scoop all remnants of the cat food out of his mouth. Crisis diverted. Well, almost, that is.
Scared and surprised, most likely by my rapid and unsuspecting diving motion toward him, the tears started to flow from my little guy’s eyes. I wiped his tears, held him in my arms and tried to provide soothing reassurance and gentle discussion behind the “why we don’t eat cat food.” “Although it might look tasty and tempting (in his defense it was very colorful looking), it’s not good for us to eat.” As I said these words to him, I couldn’t help from thinking how relevant this situation was to how I approach life with God.
There are many things in my path that often resemble the cat food. It looks good – tempting and colorful up front but the implication of indulging ends up being very costly. It’s as though I can almost hear God saying, It’s not good for you. It will make you sick. I know what is good for you, yet you choose to eat something that will only hurt you and bring more pain. I am the Provider of your needs and what you are really looking for (and it ain’t the cat food). The cat food is the devil’s distraction, and it only leads you further from Me the more you eat and indulge in it.
Similar to the way I held my own child in my arms, trying to speak in terms he would understand, I wonder if God does the same for me. In His gentle, merciful and forgiving way, He holds me and tries to explain in terms I will understand why we don’t eat the “cat food.” He tells me, "...I am the way and the truth and the life.." (John 14:6).