“We’re going on a family adventure!” is a little tune we sing often in the Robertson household. It’s a silly song to an outsider, but behind that little tune is an exciting anthem of wild imagination and discovery for our family. Sometimes it’s just a simple adventure like a slow ride down a country road as we watch the North Carolina pines dance in the breeze. No destination needed. Just one more mile away from where we have been. Other times it’s a tasty trip to our favorite ice cream shop. Mmm Goodberry’s frozen chocolate custard. If you’re ever in the Raleigh-Durham area and just so happen to be an ice cream connoisseur like myself (and currently raising three) give me a call, and I’ll buy you a cone.
Just a few weeks ago we decided to cash in on one of our family adventures. Destination? A vintage plantation. Its centerpiece is a towering two-story farmhouse surrounded by wide open grassy fields. It comes furnished with a small fishpond and a one mile loop trail, wiggling its way through the tall pines and along a fresh water stream. Near the end of the trail, a little challenge awaits you.
There are thin stumps of all sizes paving the way out of the woods and back toward the plantation home. All you have to do is walk on top of them, and you’ll be just fine. But today there was a little addition to our challenge of getting three little munchkins to the other side..mud. Lots and lots of mud! No worries here. My wife and I are country at heart and don’t back down from a little dirt. The hard part was trying to keep the kids from getting covered from head to toe and having a wet and cold ride home. But as fate would have it, my little Trevor-man wasn’t quite grasping the concept.
I took him by the hands and began to show him that if he walked from stump to stump he wouldn’t get any mud on him. At first, my little dude was doing fantastically; but like a dog who just spotted squirrel he quickly darted off the stump and into the mud. With chagrin and a slight chuckle, I picked him up again and set him on the stump where I was standing. I tried once more to shuffle him along, showing him exactly how Daddy did it. It was to no avail. The mud had already been spotted and with a grunt and somewhat girlie scream, Trevor made his plans known that he did not want what Daddy wanted. He was content to stay in the mud.
In the end, it was no big deal. A snack served as a great distraction on the short ride home, and all was well.
I began to think about that little instance on the trail. Honestly, Trevor reminded me a lot of me (you parents understand what I’m saying). I, like my little man, am often content to stay in the mud. God compassionately and carefully takes my hands to guide my steps through His will. He knows the way ahead and He is there to usher me along the best path. But so often I am content to do my own thing, to chart my own course. Sure, I understand what He is saying and I can even see the steps He wants me to take, but I’d rather stay in the mud where I’m comfortable. It’s a place I don’t have to think about the next step or keep my eyes ahead. But in this lies the problem. When I am content to stay in the mud, it usually means I get pretty dirty. Duh! Right? But it’s the truth! I find myself wandering off the best path, a path God has already made for me. I sulk in the mire of the world’s enticements and eat from the slop of the sins that so easily beset me. And then I wonder why I am so discontent.
I don’t know if you are like me or not. You may have it figured out. But for most of us, we often tug and pull away from His hands, thinking that somehow the mud is a better place to be. We fall off the stump more often than not. But can I just usher in a word of encouragement for you? God’s hands are steady. He has never dropped you and He never will. Just because the path doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean that it is not right. Take His hands. Follow His lead. And you’ll stay out of the mud.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9).