"I'll get the kids in the van," I told my wife, Nancy.
"Thank you," she replied gratefully, "I'll be right out."
I grabbed the keys and used the remote entry button to unlock the van. However, I noticed that my son, Ryan had pulled on one of the door handles. While all of the other doors unlocked, his door did not.
"Son," I said gently, "you've got to leave the door handle alone so that it will unlock. He looked at me as if I was an alien. Just then the doors locked. I hadn't pressed the 'lock' button. Something was wrong.
I pressed the 'unlock' button again and as I was reaching to open the door, they locked once more.
"OK, kids, stay back from the van for a minute," I told Alyssa and Ryan, thinking that they were doing something to interfere with the locks. I clicked the button yet again and the doors unlocked.
I reached out quickly and opened the sliding side door just as the doors locked once more.
"What's wrong with the van," Alyssa asked, concern etching her features.
"I don't know, Dear. I think we're going to have to take it in to be fixed," I replied, thinking about the costs that may be involved.
After getting them settled into their seats and buckled I shut the door and the noticeable click told me the doors had locked once more.
I turned quickly to look at the living room window wondering if my wife had been pulling a prank, but there was no one there.
An additional click and I was inside the van waiting for my wife and wondering about what may be causing this unusual problem.
My wife walked down the steps and got into the van and I began to drive.
"Something strange is happening with the van," I told her.
"Really? What's the problem?" she asked.
"Well, it's the locks, they..." I could not continue because my wife had begun to laugh uncontrollably.
She then revealed that she had been watching me attempt to get into the van. Every time I would use the remote key to unlock the van, she would use hers to lock it. She had only thought to do this once, but it was so much fun watching me try to figure it out on my own that she kept locking the doors from inside the house - and completely unknown to me. The more I tried to figure it out, the funnier it seemed to her.
By this time, she is laughing so hard that tears are emerging in the corners of her eyes.
I, in turn, suddenly envisioned how entertaining it must have looked to see a grown man fumble with his keys trying to understand something that was out of his control. I had the key - I knew how to use it - yet the doors refused to cooperate and I felt powerless to make them. I laughed with her.
"What's wrong, guys?" my three-year-old son, Ryan asked from the backseat. The moment continued to be beyond his understanding so he just decided to join in the laughter.
Now, I don't believe that God pulls pranks on us, but He does do things that make no sense to us. We think we're in charge of things and just when it looks like things are going to work out the way we planned them, they don't. So we place a picture of God locking the doors on us, simply for His own amusement, in our minds and we harbor unkind thoughts about our Creator.
The truth is that God has a plan for our good (Jeremiah 29:11). He allows us to plan our steps, but He directs our paths (Proverbs 16:9). And often, instead of looking to a loving God to see what He wants for us, we simply look at what we want and try to get it. Then we can't understand why there seemed to be so many obstacles that we encountered along the way. Then we continually demand our own way, God allows us to have our own way. He wants us to obey Him out of our love for Him, not because we are forced to.
The Christian life is kind of like the remote key to my van. I keep a key and God has the other. He may lock me out of some places I shouldn't go. I may be able to use my key to get in, but I have to wonder if it's worth it.
Point of Encouragement: God's ways, while not always understood by us, are the best and we do ourselves harm when we refuse to follow them.
Great article. I loved it! Your analogy is wonderful, good job.
31 Mar 2004
I loved this article! It so reminds me of my own adventures or misadventures. The next time "I think" something is going wrong I'm going to remember this and thank God for being in complete control of my life.