The teacher, Ms. McCoy, gave clear directions.
“Class it’s naptime. Put your nap-mat in your designated spot on the floor, lay down, turn your head toward the classroom door and rest your eyes for a few minutes.”
Obediently, most, if not all the children did as they were told. It was after lunch, our 5-year-old eyes were tired and the carbs from our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and Little Debbie snack cakes were settling in. Within five minutes most of us were asleep.
Except me. On this particular day I was very interested in what was going on behind me. I wanted to turn my head and look at the little boy who teased me on the playground. I wanted to see if he was sleeping. Slowly, I decided to take a chance and turn my head toward the teacher’s desk, the opposite direction of the door. But as I wiggled into position, Ms. McCoy’s eyes caught mine, she gave a quick but subtle turn of her head indicating she saw me and I quickly turned back over. I was nervous with the thought I had done something terrible.
But within minutes, I had regained my nerve. I turned my head quickly and faced the young boy laying three feet away from me. There he was, drool dripping down his face. Fast asleep.
“Gina,” I heard a firm voice say my name. “Come to my desk.” Ms. McCoy stated.
And from there was what I considered at that young age to be the end of the world. I was sent to the corner for the rest of nap time. There was no soft nap-mat to lay down on, no rest for my eyes. I was to stand in the corner for the remainder of eternity, roughly 15 minutes, and think about what I had done. A note was also going to be going home telling my parents of my disobedience.
All because I wanted to see that boy from the playground—the drooling, sleeping boy.
Oh, the heartaches of a five-year-old trouble maker. I knew I would be getting in trouble at home. I also was terribly embarrassed. I loved Ms. McCoy. She was a role model, who I secretly pretended to be at home. I mimicked her classroom with my dolls and used my take home papers to assign my own homework to each student. I knew I had disappointed her with my disobedience.
But the beautiful thing is, Ms. McCoy hugged me hello the next morning. It was almost like she didn’t remember how terrible I had been. It was as though the turning head/drooling boy incident had never happened. I was relieved and thankful. Things were ok. All was right in Ms. McCoy’s kindergarten classroom.
The same is true with God. I have disobeyed over ridiculously small things because I wanted to. My selfish desires led me to believe that I wouldn’t get caught or maybe God would let me slide this time. But that isn’t how God operates. Even if you do not experience his discipline, he sees. Even if you receive his grace, he sees. Even if he does discipline you, it doesn’t lessen his love for you, in fact, just the opposite. It proves he loves you.
I don’t like to be corrected, naturally. It’s uncomfortable and humbling. But God has plans and guidelines and boundaries and directions for my life for my protection, for my growth, for my own discipline. Whether I understand his ways or not, a sign of maturing is trusting those who love us. When God requires or asks more of me than I think is necessary or comfortable, I have the ability to choose to obey because I trust him, or disobey because I don’t.
Finding it hard to obey God? Ask yourself if you trust him. God loves you and wants what is best for you. Choose his ways, even when you are enticed, curious, tired or intrigued. It will be worth it. Ms. McCoy's arms were wide open to receive me back into class after I had failed her. God's loving arms stretch to receive my wandering heart the same way.
Disobedience isn’t worth the price. I’d say it’s equal to the view of the slobbery boy in a kindergarten classroom¬—disappointing, unfulfilling and anti-climactic.
Joel 2:13 - And rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.