Not long ago, while coming home from an extended family get together, in which we had celebrated the birthday of one of our young relatives, and with our three children packed in the van, as I began to head for the driveway, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.
“Don’t you come in here,” he said, “until you have blessed your three children.” The message was loud and clear, and I knew it. If I headed in that driveway without obeying the Holy Spirit, I would suffer on account of my disobedience to God. I could just feel it coming. The grief was beginning to settle in, the closer I got to the driveway. Since I valued peace above anything, and did not want to suffer on account of my disobedience, I decided to turn around the van, even if my wife thought I was a little crazy.
And as soon as we turned around, the negative feeling began to immediately lift. Off we went to the 7-11, to buy 15 cents worth of candies (5 cents for each child), which our children were simply delighted with. My wife, however, could not for the life of her figure out why our children needed yet more candy, because they had each just had some prior to that at the party. Still, I knew God had spoken. It was a little difficult, I must admit, but I simply persevered, knowing that the penalty for disobedience far outweighed any misunderstand that I might suffer at the hands of my beloved wife.
But God has his reasons. Maybe we would meet someone at that 7-11 who needed to hear about Jesus. Or, maybe … well, the possibilities were almost endless. All I knew was, “Do it to be blessed.” That is the way it is sometimes. You just have to “do it” without trying to figure it all out. God had said, “Bless your children” so who was I to argue? Besides, it felt great doing what God told me to do! God was filling me with his Spirit as we went about doing it! It really was, just awesome and amazing — I felt so happy, so overwhelmed with God’s presence and God’s joy! From the human perspective, it didn’t make sense. The children had each eaten candy prior to that point. Why buy them more? But, aha … it wasn’t about the candy. It never is.
Here is something interesting that I noticed, and of course was not surprised at when I offered to buy each of my children a small piece of candy. They were simply delighted — as in, ABSOLUTELY delighted. It was, shall we say, a wonderful way to end off the evening in their eyes. “Yes, dad.” “Thank-you, dad.” “Wow, dad.” Children are awesome, and it is very easy to make them happy. Our children are not normally permitted much candy. So when dad offers them candy, it has the ring of something special. It almost makes dad look like a nice guy. And, you know, dads can sometimes be rather disciplinary in their behavior towards their children.
To offer these three children a small piece of candy, therefore, at the close of a wonderful day, was, in fact, more than just giving them yet another piece of candy. If that had been God’s intention in telling me to bless them, I’m sure he would have not led me to do so. Is God interested in candy? No, not at all. He is primarily interested in relationship building. What my children needed was to be able to pop into bed at the end of the day, KNOWING that dad LOVED them. It is the same need you and I have with regards to our heavenly Father. Don’t go to bed tonight without knowing that he loves you! The candy did just that. It was a small, yet significant (in this case) token of reassurance to our children which told them, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR, YOU ARE LOVED.
No, we don’t throw candy at our children every day. But there are appropriate moments to do so. Especially when God has spoken. Coming back from the store, pulling into the driveway, I was FULL of the Holy Spirit, knowing that I had done what God had told me to. And the next morning, something just AMAZING and AWESOME happened! I knelt down to pray at my bedside in the morning, and I enjoyed instant, rich, communion (fellowship) with God! I prayed, and knew I was being heard!
Obedience. It is more important than gold and silver or than anything that is considered valuable by human beings. Often we go to overwhelming lengths to try and please God, when all he is asking is for us to obey his still small voice. What has God told you to do today? To be obedient is to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, and it is to invite God to do his work in us. The reward for that is a wonderful peace and fellowship with God! Today, God calls you and I to participate in obeying, and to enjoy the benefits!
“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7b-8a)