One of my children recently unbuckled the seat belt and opened the car door as I was pulling into a parking spot at the grocery store. I don’t think I’ve ever reacted so quickly and passionately. I can’t even recall what I said. All I know is that my internal organs weren’t in their usual places.
When the car came to a complete stop, I looked into the face of my dear child and saw a new level of panic. I took the child in my arms and quietly yet firmly explained the danger of opening a car door while still in motion.
As I held my little one, a flood of memories rushed in. I was five years old again sitting in the parking lot of my school.
One gorgeous fall day Grandma picked me up in her over-sized light yellow Buick to take me to kindergarten. I stared out the side window in the back seat as trees splattered with orange, red and yellow blurred past. I commentated the entire trip for Grandma so she wouldn’t miss the beautiful scenery while she kept her eyes on the road.
Then in the midst of the colorful trees, something stood out.
“Hey, Grandma, there’s a deer back by the trees. See it?” In the time it took me to say the sentence, the deer leaped across the field and collided into the front of Grandma’s car.
My little chest slammed into the seat belt nearly knocking the wind out my lungs.
I’m not sure what rattled Grandma more, the dead deer lying in front of the car, or the fear that I had been hurt in the crash.
“Are you ok? Does anything hurt? Are you sure you’re ok?” She peered over the front seat to where I was bouncing my feet against the leather.
“I’m fine Grandma! I told you there was a deer.” That was the beginning of my demise. I was more annoyed that we were going to be late for school. Yes, I was a pill. And I also happened to really, really love school.
A nearby neighbor heard the crash and came out to see if we were ok. Turns out his motivation also included claiming the hunk of free meat that had just landed on his property.
The details are a bit fuzzy for me here, because all I could think about was how in the world I was ever going to get to school. Although, this would definitely make a good playground story.
The car fared much better than the deer. After calling my Grandpa and my parents, Grandma pulled back onto the road, driving a bit more slowly, adding to my frustration of being late. We finally made it to school.
I was anxious to get out of the car. As Grandma slowed down in front of the school I cracked the door open. I felt the breeze tousle my hair. I saw the gray blur of the pavement beneath us. I heard Grandma’s shriek and my chest hit the seat belt for the second time that day. I looked up to see if this time she had hit one of my classmates, but I realized her stare was burning a hole through my head.
“Don’t ever, ever open the door while the car is still moving!”
“It’s ok, you were almost stopped anyway.” Told you I was a pill.
“NO! You don’t understand. You could get seriously hurt!” Her face drained of color.
“Oh Grandma, I wasn’t going to get out until you had stopped. I was just saving time by opening the door a little early.” I really didn’t know when to stop talking.
I could tell by Grandma’s furrowed eyebrows and scrunched up forehead that this conversation was far from over. I’d seen the same look on my Dad’s face before. It was genetic code for “You are in soooo much trouble.”
“Can I please go in now?” I asked while trying to make my tone as respectful as possible.
I flew into the school door and raced to my desk, breathless. I was right, the car accident that morning made for great playground material. I had nearly forgotten about being in trouble for opening the car door. Until I got home.
Then my parents reminded me all over again. And again. I kept insisting that I was fine and that Grandma hadn’t been going that fast. I didn’t like to be wrong, even at 5 years old.
I thought that my family all over reacted that day. It wasn’t until my own child pulled the same stunt on me that I realized they reacted as they did because they loved me so much.
When you love someone, sometimes you take drastic measures to protect them from their own actions.
Love motivates you to speak and act with a force you didn’t know you had.
Yet, often times when God intervenes in our lives it can be tempting to cry out against Him. We might brush Him off, much as I did my family, instead of thanking Him. We might accuse Him of restricting our freedoms, of not having our best intention in mind. Or maybe we get discouraged, convinced we can never do anything right, so we figure why bother if we can’t ever please Him anyway?
But He corrects us because He loves us. Like a parent loves a child.
“My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the LORD disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
Hebrews 12:5b-6, NLT
Is there an area where God is trying to get your attention? Are you brushing Him off? Do you realize that He loves you so very much and wants what is best for you?