Obedience, an Inch at a Time

It’s VBS week at our church, and I’m one of the fifth grade teachers.  I will confess that over the last few weeks I’ve been grumpy about this approaching obligation.  At the time that I signed up, I thought we’d be moved already.  I didn’t know I would be in the midst of packing, as well as keeping the house perfect for listing.  I most certainly didn’t know that Pete would be out of town for work, leaving me to do it on my own.  (Note to Pete, who I know is loyally checking my blog: Really, honey, it’s okay!)

So, as the week approached, I got progressively crankier until I was almost ready, in the middle of last week, to call my two co-teachers and beg off.  But then one of the teachers–the lead teacher–was rushed to the hospital with acute abdominal pain, where she wound up having an emergency appendectomy.

(I realize that last paragraph reads like my co-teacher’s surgery was my misfortune.  Obviously, she has it much rougher than I!)

My escape plan was immediately squelched.   And you know what?  It’s okay.  Of course I’m exhausted, but I’m also getting to know some kids I didn’t know before.  And, as usual, I’m learning from them.

Last night, our story was about Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane.  We focused on Jesus’ knowledge of the plan (His torturous crucifixion), and His humble obedience to that plan in spite of His fear.

At one point, I asked the kids if it was important to know God’s plan in order to obey it.  I expected a chorus of “yes,” and planned to move on.  But one girl raised her hand and said, “Only, you usually don’t know the whole plan.”

Don’t I know it.  The girl’s comment led to a great discussion of why God doesn’t write it all out for us to make things easier.  Well, it’s because it would make things easier, and God’s not all that into “easier.”

When He gives us little assignments all along the way rather than a detailed description at the outset, we have to stay in tune with Him in order to stay on track.  So, we hear one little instruction and follow it.  Then we must stop and pray and listen again before we can move forward.  Sometimes, as in my current situation, it can feel very slow and halting and frustrating.  But if the ultimate goal is obedience (and it should be), I can draw satisfaction from that process of hearing, obeying, and hearing and obeying again.  Even if it’s only an inch or two at a time.

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