The Rewarder

I remember where we were when our first child took his first steps. He was a year old, give or take a few days. We were with my parents in a cabin at a fishing camp in northwestern Ontario. Joel had been pulling himself up and standing for a few weeks, but while we were there, he took his first steps. He got one solid step in, followed by a two-step Lindy Hop, and then crashed to the floor. And we all cheered.

You’d think he’d just won the Nobel Prize. Instead he took three wobbly steps. Three wobbly steps, but full of promise. We knew this was just the beginning.

Now imagine the same scenario with a different outcome. We’re all in the cabin. One-year-old Joel is standing up with his hands on the sofa, and I’m beckoning him to come to me. I say, “Come on, son. You can do it. Come on.” He turns toward me. He lifts and extends his foot. We all hold our breath. He shifts his weight – he’s taken his first step! He then quickly takes another. Then a third, then goes crashing down in a heap.

And that’s when I say: “That’s all you got? What’s the matter with you? I was walking by the time I was 8 months old. I give you a year, and three steps is all you can give me! You are such a disappointment to me.”

Some people think that God is like the critical, impossible-to-please me in the second scenario. No matter what we do, he thinks, “That’s all you got? You’re such a disappointment to me.” These people imagine, to misquote Hanani the seer, that the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth, seeking to criticize those who don’t do everything perfectly. But the truth lies in the opposite direction. What Hanani really told King Asa was: the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth, seeking to show himself strong to those who hearts are fully his. Not those who do everything perfectly. God is not looking for opportunities to criticize but to reward.

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