As we exited the store, two-year-old Benjamin, suddenly tugged hard on my hand and broke free from my grasp. I yelled, “Ben, stop,” but he had darted into the road. An on-coming car screeched to a stop. I rushed after him, scooping him up and toting him to the car.
I was at my end. There had been other incidences. At the swimming pool. At home. Whenever his strong opinions and curiosity took over, I was either in for a fight or a life-saving attempt. Thus, we struggled through the two-year-old stage.
One morning, I stopped at a toy store to buy a gift. A new, red firetruck caught Ben’s eye. He played quietly with it on the floor of the toy store while I shopped and paid for my gift. When I finished paying, I said, “Let’s go, buddy.” He objected loudly, “No! I want the truck.” As his volume rose, I realized that I had to leave fast. I scooped him up and tucked him under my arm. At that moment, he exploded into a full-scale fit, squirming, kicking, yelling, and crying. I smiled weakly at the clerk and exited the store.
I sighed wearily as I strapped him into his booster seat. When would he learn to listen? Then, another thought intruded. You are behaving just like him. You have been throwing a fit about living here, and you have not been listening to me. I knew that voice, and He was right. We had moved to Denver, Colorado, two years previously. And though I wasn’t kicking and crying, I had quit listening to God, wanting my own way.
The heartbreaking reality of refusing the wisdom and comfort of the All-Knowing One flooded my heart. I had been as foolish as a two-year-old child who thinks that he knows what will make him happy and who refuses the care and protection of listening to his mother. I cried all the way home, resolving to listen.
I’m not the only one who has been guilty of not listening. God told the Israelites to listen to His voice: “And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him” (Deuteronomy 30:19 MSG) Yet, over and over in the Old Testament, the Israelites refused to listen.
When Jesus came, He declared Himself the Good Shepherd and taught that His “sheep (would) recognize his voice and come to him” (John 10:3 NLT). Why do I sometimes refuse to listen to Him? Do I really believe that His plans for me are better than a brand new, red firetruck?