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As a toddler, my son spent many precious hours with his grandfather, who lived close by. They would sit on the front porch swing and read picture books together. One time when he was ready to leave, Grandpa took out the plastic coin purse that he carried in his pocket. He squeezed the sides of the soft oval to reveal the coins inside. Chuckling with delight, he fished out a quarter and offered it to my son, who grinned and then shook his head.
“No, Grandpa,” he stated emphatically. He pointed to the three shiny copper pennies that were nestled among the other coins. “I want those!”
Grandpa tried in vain to explain that the quarter was worth much more than the three pennies, but the toddler was insistent. In his limited experience, he had no use for the bigger coin. He only knew that pennies were what he needed for the gumball machine. His exasperated grandpa finally shook his head and walked off in defeat, minus the three pennies.
My two-year-old son hadn’t realized the value of what was offered him that day. Once he learned to count and he understood the worth of each coin, he gladly accepted every quarter his loving grandpa wanted to give him.
When I look back at my own life, I imagine that there were times when God felt like “shaking his head” at me. Like a two-year-old, I grabbed hold of the shiny pennies, whatever was familiar and safe, rather than reaching for things of greater value. I passed up opportunities to serve God because I was afraid I’d be found inadequate for the job. I didn’t yet realize that if he calls me to do something, he is also able to equip me to do it. I couldn’t hear his voice saying, “Child, don’t you know that I want to give you the very best?”
Voices within me would scream of my shortcomings and point out my failures. God’s still voice whispered, “I love you enough that I sent my Son to die for you.”
Darkness left me shivering and alone. The Light said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Negativity convinced me that I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t brave enough. If I tried, I would surely fail. God’s word promised, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I’ve slowly learned that if God sends me on a mission trip, he’ll be right there to guide me. If God urges me to teach a class, he’ll tell me what to say. If he brings people into my life, he’ll show me ways to love them. I can count on him to offer me the very best of blessings, but I must reach out to receive them.
Fortunately, God has an immeasurable amount of patience. He meets me where I am. He hears my excuses, and then gently nudges me in the right direction. He wants to challenge me, but not to break me. When I resist, he waits until I’m ready, because he knows me better than I know myself.
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