As much as I anxiously anticipate nap time on some of the days that I spend at home, there are few moments that top entering my daughters’ room when they’re ready to plunge back into the days activities after a little “snoozer”. Usually well-rested and happy, they greet me with smiles, stories of their dreams, and warm little bodies which have been nestled under their soft blankets for the past two hours. I often marvel during this moment at the paradox of loving the peace and quiet but also missing their little chatterings and pitter-patterings of their feet running throughout the house. A few weeks back – yes, the spring has been quite elusive this year in the Upper Midwest – it had begun to snow during these quiet hours and I knew the girls, not caring that it was late March and supposed to be warmer, would be ecstatic to see it when they awoke. Upon going into their room, I noticed their drapes were still drawn and therefore, they had yet to discover the large, fluffy white flakes gently falling on our front sidewalk.
“Girlies!” I sang as I pushed open the door to their bedroom. “Guess what’s happening outside? Let’s look out the window!”
They both quickly emerged from their beds and ran to their post near the heavy radiator which sits under their front bedroom window.
“Snow!” they both exclaimed.
Yes, how wonderful, I thought to myself. Oh, to see the world through the eyes of a child. Oh well, at least it makes them happy.
While watching the snow fall from the second-story window was great entertainment, one of my daughters quickly became quite frustrated. The closer she got to the window – and she always has to get quite close to anything she’s investigating – the less she could see, her breath creating a fog on the glass pane in front of her.
“Sweetheart,” I said. “You see, the air coming out of your mouth is warmer than the glass and it makes that little cloud. If you want to see the snowflakes outside, you’re going to have to learn to back up a bit and look out the window from just a little further away so that the window stays clear.”
As I tried to explain this to her, I began to think of some “struggles” with which I had recently been wrestling in my life. Was I acting much like my daughter – focusing on the issues at hand so hard, so intently that I left little room for God to act or show me His glory?
In the book of Exodus, the Israelites almost “get in their own way” as they begin to grumble against Moses and the Lord when they are being led out of Egypt. Their lack of faith shows itself when the Egyptians begin to catch up to them just before the parting of the Red Sea. Having been given strength and wisdom that could only come from God, Moses turns to the people and says,
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." ~Exodus 14:14
Here Moses is, attempting to lead this mass of people away from slavery which they begged release from, and they begin a near riot out of terror and fear. They cry out, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” (Exodus 14:11). At that moment, Moses is fully aware that if God cannot give him the strength and wisdom to calm his followers down and gain control of the situation, all will be lost.
Little did the people know that they were just moments away from experiencing one of the greatest miracles of the Old Testament: the parting of the Red Sea.
What if the Israelites had continued to grumble, complain, and focus on the fast-approaching Egyptians in the distance? What if they insisted on wallowing in their self pity and refused to “take a step back” to view the full glory of God which was about to be shown to them?
How many times are we so often like these people – focused on the “problems” we face, refusing to give God the “room” He needs to show us His glory?
I’m not sure that my daughter understood what I was trying to explain to her that day. After all, the conversation quickly turned to an act of drawing stars and other various shapes in the fog on the window – oh, joy – and I think everyone forgot about the snow for a moment. But regardless of what she took away from our conversation, she taught me a very important lesson. And I pray that it’s not one soon forgotten.