When my son Jackson was almost ten, he was taking guitar lessons and I made him practice his guitar regularly. It was something that he did not quite willingly, but he did it.
At one point he came to me and said, “Daddy, I want to quit guitar.” He always said he wanted to quit. And I said, “No, Son, that’s the one thing I’m not letting you quit until you are at least sixteen. You’re going to keep playing guitar no matter what.”
Before he went to practice one day, he looked at me (hoping to get out of practicing) and asked “Daddy, do I have to practice today?” I said, “Son, you have to practice.”
He looked at me again and asked, “Why, Daddy?” Why, Daddy? As if I was torturing him and subjecting him to the gas chamber, not guitar practice. I said, “Son, when you’re sixteen years old you’re going to put your arm around me—you’ll be taller than me then, so you’ll be looking down at me—and you’ll say, ‘Dad, I just want to thank you so much that you didn’t let me quit guitar because you knew the benefits I would get from it.’”
He will be thankful when he’s reaping those benefits, when he’s enjoying the freedom and opportunities that come from using his talent and being able to play a musical instrument, when he’s meeting people and getting other life opportunities—instead of playing video games or watching television all the time. He’ll be out there in the world doing something and hopefully something that matters for the Lord.
So, he’ll have those opportunities and I know when he sees those benefits (someday) he’s going to thank me. The problem is, today he can’t see the benefits. He doesn’t see what they are, so he thinks it’s torture. He’s thinking, “Why am I doing this? Why do I have to learn this? This is a pain in the butt.”
It’s often the same way with us and God. We sit there and we ask, “Why God? Why are we going through this? Why do I have to do this?” We know what God’s Word says, but we question that too.
Well, the Lord is saying right back to us, “Someday you’re going to thank me for this. You don’t know the benefits you’re reaping in heaven and on earth through your obedience and your faith right now! You don’t see the rewards you’ll reap later in life and in heaven, but one day you’re going to thank me, and you’re going to be so grateful that I didn’t let you quit.”
We see it so clearly with our children, or sometimes with other people, but we often fail to connect the dots in our own lives. But God laid out clearly for me how it works in what I now call “The Parable of Jackson’s Guitar Lessons.”
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"Desiring to have a closer relationship with God but don't know what that looks like or how to do it? ""Envious of others who seem to have peace and joy and blessing of the lord?"