Last week when we were walking across the church parking lot my daughter showed me a medium-sized berry she had pulled off of one of the trees. My first reaction was to ask why she was pulling anything off a tree without permission. But that immediately became unimportant when I saw her motion to put this unknown object in her mouth. “Don’t eat that!” “Why not?” “Because it’s probably poisonous!” I couldn’t believe I had just gone there. I had been somewhat distracted by all of the other people that had been trying to talk to the preacher and that was a quick fix. I had no idea if it was poisonous or not. It was just one of those things that parents say to put a stop to something. Truthfully I did not know what she had gotten into. So it was time to do a more thorough investigation and have a follow-up discussion as to why she could not eat what she had picked.
I first explained that I did not really know if it was poisonous or not, and that I was sorry if I had misled her. I went on to say that we don’t eat what we don’t know. So I made her discard the item and told her since I was her dad and I loved her that I could not just let her eat something that might be unsafe. She seemed to be pretty satisfied with that explanation. So she chucked it. Her inquisitive mind was won over by a loving appeal from her daddy for her physical well-being.
This incident is not too far removed from our spiritual walk with our own heavenly Father. We often happen upon things that look good, but our level of judgment and education about this thing may be limited. We may convince ourselves the fruit will taste good for whatever reason. Then we may likely ingest it before we know what the consequences will be. The fact is that it may be perfectly harmless. It might not be poisonous at all. But wisdom still says you need to know what you’re eating before you put it in your mouth.
That’s life. Not everything that looks good is good for you. So God’s loving discipline forbids us from taking part in certain things that we may desire. God knows more than we do and His warnings are meant for our protection. A god who is not so loving would just let us do whatever we wanted to do and show no concern. But a rational plea to our sense of discernment from a loving father will often talk us out of doing something that may be harmful. At the end of the day, we will be content knowing that he cares. And even though we didn’t get to do it our way we have someone who loves us too much to let us hurt ourselves because of our lack of knowledge and our human weakness.
And I am pretty sure that we will decide fairly quickly to chuck that fruit that for a moment had appeared to be so exciting. Because heavenly love tastes so much better than any berries we pick in the parking lot.
“You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” – Psalm 73:24
Photo background credit: Nana B Agyei on Creative Commons