Delayed Obedience is Disobedience
"When I say jump, you better ask how high on the way up." A common refrain from my childhood, I recall hearing it when I had defied direct instruction and inspired more than just irritation. With a child's heart, I hated to hear my parents utter these words. It meant I had failed and tried to exert my own will. I was testing the bounds of what was acceptable and pitting my desires against their direction. I didn't realize at the time that I may have won an immediate struggle but I was losing the conflict.
As an adult, I recognize I grew up in a family with very strong personalities. Personalities seeming to clash regularly. Our parents were doing all they knew how to maintain control, while two teens were equally dedicated to circumventing their authority.
The concept of obedience was continually reinforced and challenged in the tug-o-war. I suspect similar dramas have played out in households around the world, since time in memoriam.
What is more, the battle plays out between ourselves and God with enough drama to fill scores of screenplays, musicals, and books the world over. As I spend time listening to the Bible in a Year with Father Mike Schmitz, this very theme hits me in the face with every turn.
We are never free of our childish tendencies to ask God what he wants us to do and then ignoring Him, no matter how mature, how spiritual, how grown-up we are. God plants his desire for us in our hearts, in our thoughts, in conversations with others, in chance encounters and coincidences. If we take the time to examine all of these seeds, gathering them close and taking them to prayer, we can discern His desire for us.
But what about when we do all these things and then respond, "not right now, God, I will do it soon." Our hearts want to follow God's path...when it fits our desires and schedule. Think of how many regrets we would avoid if only we acted when He prompts us. I consider how often I have experienced joy at finally moving on His promptings and wondering to myself "why did I wait so long?"
How grateful I am God still runs to me, ignoring my delay. Oh Lord, please forgive my delayed obedience, my disobedience!