As a child, did you ever play the game, “Mother May I?” One player is the “mother,” the other players are the “children.” To begin the game, the “mother” stands at one end facing the “children,” while the children line up at the other end facing the “mother.” The children then take turns asking, “Mother, may I ____?” and fill in the blank with a movement suggestion. For instance, someone might ask, “Mother, may I take five steps forward?” The mother either replies “Yes, you may” or “No, you may not do that, but you may _____ instead” and inserts his/her own suggestion. If the child forgets to ask “Mother may I?”, he/she goes back to the starting line. First one to touch Mother, wins.
Sometimes I feel I play that game with the Lord. I ask, “Father, may I take three steps forward?” But instead of saying “Yes, you may,” He tells me no and keep me where I am or, worse, moves me back.
Don’t you hate being moved back? I know I do. Staying in the same place I can *almost* handle. But moving back? It makes me shudder. Especially when I “know” God should move me forward. Yet the Lord, in all His wisdom, recognizes that sometimes moving forward is not the best for me. In fact, sometimes it can cause irrefutable damage.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. (Proverbs 4:13, NIV)
Oh how I wish that verse was my life’s mantra! How I wish I would trust God for every single moment of every single day. But, to be honest, I don’t. And many times when I see Him asking me to stand still or take a few steps back, I dig in my heals and do what I want. Yet even during those times of disobedience, those times when I ask, “Father, may I?” then turn around and do what I please, He’s there for me, offering unconditional love and grace with open arms.
Father, teach me how to listen. Bore into me a desire for Your instruction over mine. Remind me that wisdom—Yourwisdom—is more precious than rubies. That Your instruction and knowledge is more precious than gold, and that my ways can only lead to destruction. Even during those times when I feel like You’ve sent me ten steps back, help me trust that You know best. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting, for You alone are God.