Yesterday I returned from a good bit of vacation. In the process of flying home we spent the night in a hotel in a city on the way. This hotel just opened December 22, so it had been open just over month, and it was obvious. The nice thing was it was a 5 star hotel for the price of a Motel 8.
Next to the work out area there was a brand new small children's play area. My daughter and I spent some time in there playing with a few of the toys they had, all alone. At 2 1/2 she's already interested in the cheap tea set, and set about making me pretend tea and pretend coffee for mom. Once she was thoroughly entertained without my help I set about playing with the only toy in the room that had any appeal to me, the blocks. They were a rather fancy set with specific pieces for making a castle. This included small turrets and stair cases etc... In fact when we arrived the staff had built a rather impressive little castle. My daughter tore it down and I decided I'd set about re-making an even better one.
After a few minutes of playing with the blocks, in grand two-year-old fashion, my little girl was suddenly interested in building a castle herself. Hey, dad was doing it. So I watched as she took apart what I had started and then began to stack things carefully, or as carefully as she's able.
I didn't have to watch her build for very long before I wanted to help her understand how the pieces could go together better than she was assembling them. I wanted to explain how to build more stable towers, and why the turrets should be spread out rather than in a row with other blocks on top of them. But she wouldn't have it. "No daddy, I do it," she'd say. She was building what she saw as best, and wanted to do it herself.
If you're a parent you can probably relate to some kind of similar situation knowing you can do things better, but also knowing this is part of your child's learning process. They need to build many bad castles before they can build any good ones. So when they refuse help you stand back and watch them succeed or fail.
But then the Lord spoke to me about these building blocks.
You see, I fancy myself something of a strategist. I work in a city of millions of people and I'm constantly strategizing about how to minister to this many people, how to bring real transformation with a team of just 5 guys. I'm always coming up with new ideas and then trying to implement them, and I love it. I love seeing my ideas come to fruition and attempting to bring the Lord's Kingdom here in this city.
But there in that little toy room, I heard the Lord say something like, "You see how simple you're child's ideas look to you? You know how much better of a job you could do. That's how you are when you attempt to build things on your own. I can do it better. Let me help you."
It's not that I don't look to the Lord for ideas. It's just that sometimes my ideas feel good enough. Like my daughter thinks her castle is nice enough. Mine would probably better. An architect's would definitely be better than even my own, even with the same set of blocks.
I think my ideas are good enough. But God's would be better. And there is no architect greater than Him. I can spend my days building little castles in this city. Or I could look to my Father and ask, "How should I stack this? Which block should go here? Does this look right? Did I do that like I should have? Is there a better way?"
If He's anything like me as a father, He'd probably be more than thrilled to teach me to build awesome castles; especially when it brings Him Glory.
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." - 1 Corinthians 1:25.
"What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" - Luke 11:11-13