Alexis just started to learn how to crawl. After years (9 months) of my coaxing and encouraging her, she finally started. And I’m all the way out at U of I when it happened. Sadness. But at least I know I’m one of the main reasons why she’s able to crawl now. (I’m so vital in her life…)
Even before she started crawling, we had to always keep an eye on her (obviously). Anything within arms reach she would reach out and grab, and many times tried to put it in her mouth and shove it down her throat (i.e., her hand and foot). And you would have to grab her hand and pull it out of her mouth and say in a very stern voice, “Alexis, No. We don’t put our foot in our mouths.” Even still, she continues to try to put more things in her mouth, or throw things at people, no matter how many times you tell her no.
And now that she’s mobile, its become time for the parents to go crazy. Baby-proof the entire house. No open outlets, gates up everywhere, safety hinges on cabinets, foam padding on table corners…you’d think you were in an insane asylum or something. But they do what they have to do in order to keep her safe. They’re going to have to keep telling her not to do things, and pulling herself away from stuff that can hurt her.
Now, instead of almost 1 year old, what if she was 21 years old? What if I was telling you these same stories? What if I was like, “Alexis keeps trying to put scissors in sockets” or “she’s always shutting off the TV when people are watching something” or “when there’s a conversation and she’s not getting attention, she throws a tantrum and starts throwing things”? What if we constantly had to sit her down and say “Alexis, we don’t put scissors in the electrical socket”, everytime she did that? And what if after awhile, she starts putting knives in the electrical socket and then tells you “you told me not to put scissors in there; why didn’t you tell me not to put knives?”
For one, I’d think she was a huge brat. I think we’d also consider her very immature, too. When people are little babies and just growing up, it’s understandable that you need to repeat directions over and over to them, and physically pull them from things and such, because they just don’t know any better. Ignorance is a valid claim, because they don’t have the experiences or training to know right from wrong many times, good from bad, or how to transfer knowledge from one situation to help a decision in another. But when you get older, you start to take the foundational lessons that you learned and build on it. By understanding the basis behind everything, you start to see clearly other areas where similar things occur. You realize that you don’t put a pair of scissors in the elctrical socket not just because the two don’t go together, but because the scissors are metal and electricity travels very easily through it and will produce a shock. And with that knowledge, you know that you shouldn’t put any sort of metal object in a scket that’s not made specifically to go there. You don’t need someone to tell you this…you figure it out on your own.
Spiritually, we continue living like we are 2. We cry out that we are infants and newborns and don’t know better. And in one sense, we are. We are all very young in our faith, very new to everything, and have a whole lot to learn. But for many of us, we’re living like 22 year olds, who look like they are two. When we first became Christians, God made things clear for us. He made things somewhat easy for us…bringing us great joy in His Word, giving us strength to pray, loving to worship. We felt like insights about our lives and such were just hitting us left and right.
And then over time, it stopped being so easy. We try planning for a future, and we cry out, “Lord, give me a sign, just tell me what you want me to do.” And if I were God, I’d be thinking, “What!?!? You’re grown up now. I’m not going to make all the decisions for you. My joy is not in telling you what to do, but seeing that you’ve grown to be able to make right decisions on your own.” We want the easy life. We want everything laid out very clearly. And anywhere there is question or doubt, we want God to simply tell us where to go, what to do, when to do it. We are so immature. We’ve had so much training…so many experiences. Now it’s up to us to take that training and use it for our lives. We need to stop being immature babies. We need to grow up. The hands of protection aren’t going to always pull us away at the first sight of danger: we need to learn from our mistakes and no not to touch the hot stove again, and push that farther to know not to touch anything hot like that. Now that’s discernment. We can’t claim ignorance after all these years…now, it’s just immaturity.