In town the other day, I saw a mother and her child. They used the crosswalk to get across the street in front of us. They caught my attention because of HOW they went across. The mother was stiff-legged and stiff-armed, walking like a robot. Her little girl was imitating her. Their smiles and laughter told me of their delight in one another.
I kept watching them as the went down the sidewalk, the mother in the lead.
Her daughter wasn’t beside her, so she looked back.
With a knowing, loving smile on her face, she had stopped, turned partway around, and stretched out her hand for her daughter to come hold.
The girl saw the reaching hand. But, first, she fingered a chain stretched across a stairwell.
Still, the mother waited. Her expression remained the same. There wasn’t irritation. There were no reprimands. No expressed urgency. Just that Mona Lisa smile and the hovering, still, outstretched hand.
In the process of going toward her mom, a pretty flower got the girl’s attention. She remained on the sidewalk and examined the flower.
Staying still, the mother waited. The love remained on her face. The offered hand didn’t drop.
Meanwhile, the girl stayed on the sidewalk and was slowly making her way closer to that hand. Then, something at her feet caught her eye. An ant, perhaps.
The mother remained, still smiling, still ready to hold hands for the journey ahead.
It seemed to me like that’s the relationship we can enjoy with God.
This mother and daughter knew each other. The bond was evident. The journey was together. They weren’t holding hands in the crosswalk, but they were still together, still delighting in one another. They weren’t holding hands yet on the sidewalk, but the mother was still watchful. The little girl had obviously been trained to use the crosswalk and to stay on the sidewalk.
Did the little girl have to run up and grab her mother’s hand immediately?
Had the mother seen danger, would she have leapt into action or shouted a command?
I have no doubt of that.
If danger had suddenly loomed, would this little girl have responded immediately because of the change in posture or change in voice?
I think that is likely. Trust and love had already been established.
How do I know that?
I base it on the look of affection that little girl had given her mom as she imitated the robot-walk and they crossed the street the way only those two in their own little world could have.
I base it on the fact the little girl looked and saw the offered hand and started moving that direction.
I base it on the stillness of the mother and the steadfast love exhibited as she remained and watched with quiet understanding.
Although I couldn’t hear anything the girl might have been saying, I know most kids would be giving a running commentary and belting out questions about the chain and the flower and the ant and the sky and that tree over there and…
Although we turned the corner and I never saw whether or not their hands ever connected, do I think they did?
I think it is likely. And, I don’t think it would have been the first time they held hands. Probably not the last.
And, once their hands finally connected and the mother led the way, did the child know the destination? I don’t know. Does it matter?
What if the child had managed to run off, get lost, finally find out where home is, and went running to the door? Is this the likely scenario?
Opening the door, the mother says, “Depart from here. I don’t know you!”
Matthew 7:7-14 (LEB) — “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you, if his son will ask him for bread, will give him a stone? Or also if he will ask for a fish, will give him a snake? Therefore if you, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him? Therefore in all things, whatever you want that people should do to you, thus also you do to them. For this is the law and the prophets. Enter through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it, because narrow is the gate and constricted is the road that leads to life, and there are few who find it!”
Let’s stick to the narrow sidewalk, beside Him every day and grasping at those opportunities to imitate Him and to grab His offered hand. It is a wondrous thing to be called His son or His daughter!