I was five years old and remember it vividly. My mother and I were having a disagreement. Though I don’t recollect what the argument was about, I clearly recall my mother’s reaction. Exasperated from our discussion, Mama said, “I don’t even know why you have a mother. I try to teach you and guide you, yet you think you know everything about everything. I really don’t see the point in you even having a mother.”
Powerful words. I remember thinking, “Hmmm. She makes a valid point.” I pondered her comment for a second and then I replied with something rather poignant for a girl of five. I said, “I don’t know everything about poisons.”
My Christian mother – whose spiritual gift is sarcasm – replied with, “I guess I’ll stay around until you learn about poisons and then I’m outta here.”
Disclaimer: The above conversation between my mother and me is not recommended for use in other families.
Over the years, we have enjoyed many a laugh over that story. Yet on a more serious note, I wonder if my Father in Heaven ever feels that way. Is God ever so frustrated with me that He thinks, “I don’t even know why you need a Father. I try to teach you and guide you but you think you know everything!”
COMMANDMENTS – NOT SUGGESTIONS
I must admit that there are times I live my life like I know what is best. All throughout scripture, God gives me specific instructions, but my actions say, “I appreciate the suggestion, God, but I’ll handle it my way.”
God instructs me to think on things that are lovely and pure yet I watch TV shows, read magazines, or have conversations that are anything but lovely and pure.
God tells me to love my neighbor and there are people who live within 50 feet of us whose names I don’t even know.
God commissions me to spread the gospel but how many times have I been hesitant because I didn’t want to offend my lost friends?
When I find myself indulging in my own ways, I remember a passage of scripture from Isaiah.
My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
God knows what’s best for me. He created man, the majestic mountains, and the mighty seas. He certainly doesn’t need me arguing with Him. Besides, just like my mother did, He will have the last word.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Well, you can probably guess how the incident with my mother turned out, but in case you’re curious, here’s the rest of the story:
I learned about poisons and Mama packed up and left the following spring.
No! Of course she stayed. She stayed through poisons, piano recitals, pimples, and prom. Why? Because in spite of my faults and my willfulness, she loves me unconditionally. My parents wouldn’t think of leaving or forsaking any of their children – and God promises the same thing. The Message translates Hebrews 13:5-6 this way:
Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?
If we obey His teaching - and forget about having the last word - nothing can get us – not evil, not the enemy, and not even poisons.