I was just recalling an experience that I had a few years ago that was a wee bit on the scary side. Well, lets just be honest…it was very scary. It was one of those moments that you never see coming until its staring you square in the eyes. It started simple enough, I was on my way into town when I decided to swing in and drop of some rentals at the local movie store. I had my two little ones in the back seat, safely buckled in their car seats; I had some good old gospel music on the radio, and a cold diet coke in my hand. Again, everything was great, no immediate difficulties in sight. I popped out of the front seat, made a comment to myself about the relentless heat of the summer, and walked into the store to lay the movies on the counter.
I may have been gone 20 seconds.
As I returned to the car, humming the tune I had just been listening to, I was suddenly stopped cold at the car door. My jaw dropped when I saw that Reagen had unbuckled her way out of her car seat (for the first time I might add), climbed into the front seat, and locked the doors up tight. The car was running, the air conditioner was blowing, and she didn’t have a care in the world. There she was jumping up and down in the driver’s seat with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the gearshift. Taylor was screaming, I was frozen with fear, and Reagen was contemplating her first joy ride.
Now, this was no time to panic because the safety of my children was hanging in the balance, my response had to be calculated and effective. I quickly took inventory of the situation and made the only decision a good father could make…I began earnestly pray for the rapture to take place at that very moment. Obviously, God did not agree with my plan of action. So I did the next best thing, I called Pop-a-Lock. With the locksmith on his way, I began attempting to distract Reagen away from the gearshift. She responded by smiling at me as if to say…
“Poor man, do you not realize that this is my moment to shine.”
She then proceeded to show me that she could successfully operate every button and knob located inside an automobile…except the UNLOCK button. The LOCK button was not problem at all…she must have mashed that one about 75 times. But UNLOCK?
“Sorry Dad, I’m just not familiar with that one.”
I was a wreck. That ten-minute moment felt like eternity. I was helpless! All I could do was stand on the outside and watch as my daughter, unknowingly, played games with her life, and the life her brother.
Then, in a blink of an eye, she came to the window, put her knee on the armrest and unlocked the door. I quickly yanked the door open, before she could accidentally lock it again. As she came tumbling out of the car, I caught her and lifted her up. At that moment I didn’t know whether to hug her or ground her for life…I chose the hug. As I breathed a sigh of relief, Reagen looked at me and said...”Daddy, I drive?”
Moments like these cause us to age years in mere moments. Actually, I’m still recovering. Today as I sit and remember the “the movie store incident”, God whispers truth to my heart…”David, now you know how I feel when you let sin separate us.”
Honestly, I have never thought of it quite like that before. On several occasions, I have considered how the separating power of sin affects me…but never have I considered how that separation affects my Heavenly Father. I can see now how it could be much like my experience with Reagen. When my sin causes a break in the fellowship between God and me, I believe two things take place. There’s two sides to every story.
First of all, my access to the benefits of God has become limited. In essence, I have placed myself on the outside. On the outside of what, you ask? On the outside of His protection, His guidance, His blessing. I find myself separated from the very things that I desire most from my creator. Here’s what the Bible says…
Behold, the hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear dull, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Isaiah tells us that our sin does not diminish God; He can still reach and save and hear…BUT…out sin does disconnect the fellowship. When my kids rebel against my rules and expectations for them, they are in essence saying, “I know what you want from me, but I choose to do this my way, even if it hurts you.” This is essentially what we do when we turn against our Heavenly Father and choose the path of sin.
Now let me make one point here; I said the relationship is damaged, but not terminated. When my kids go against my rules and expectations it limits the fellowship that we both desire. Now, in order to restore our relationship the damage must be addressed. This is where confession and forgiveness come in. The relationship may be wounded but it will stand the trial…and it can be mended. At no point do they ever stop being my kids…never.
So the first point is that I become separated from my God’s hand. Secondly, God becomes limited in His ability offer His protection, His guidance, and His blessings. He has also, been placed on the outside, and finds Himself separated from His creation. The heart of a father longs to do what is best for his child. How then must it feel when the hands of a father are tied and he can no longer intercede on child’s behalf? I can tell you from my experience with Reagen, it is close to torture.
Can’t you just see Him? You walked away from Him and gave yourself to the world… gave yourself to sin. You locked the door on your Savior and now He stands and watches you through the window. His big heart is touched with sorrow. A few moments feel like an eternity. All He can do is stand on the outside and watch as His child plays games with their life.
Dr. George Sweeting wrote in his book “Special Sermons for Special Days”:
“Several years ago our family visited Niagara Falls. It was spring, and ice was rushing down the river. As I viewed the large blocks of ice flowing toward the falls, I could see that there were carcasses of dead fish embedded in the ice. Gulls by the score were riding down the river feeding on the fish. As they came to the brink of the falls, their wings would go out, and they would escape from the falls.
I watched one gull which seemed to delay and wondered when it would leave. It was engrossed in the carcass of a fish, and when it finally came to the brink of the falls, out went its powerful wings. The bird flapped and flapped and even lifted the ice out of the water, and I thought it would escape. But it had delayed too long so that its claws had frozen into the ice. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into the abyss.”
That ice is much like the sin we carelessly play with, all because we enjoy the free meal it offers. The truth be told, the wages of sin is still death. Sure, we may get by with it for a season. We may even get along pretty good without God’s provision for a short time. We may lock God outside the car and have the time of our lives playing with the buttons and knobs of this world. But don’t deceive yourself; you can only pull on the gearshift so many times before you lose.
Think about it!
Keep Seeking the Truth