Liz knew her daughter was strong willed, but she didn’t realize to what extent until the day Tanya decided she wanted to make her own peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Liz thought her three year old might need some assistance, so she went to the kitchen to supervise. However, Tanya let her know she didn’t want her in the kitchen.
“I’m just here in case you have any questions,” Liz assured her daughter.
With a withering look Tanya answered, “My way is my way, and I will do it my way.”
Well then, so much for being needed.
I laughed when I heard the story, but it smarted a little when I realized how much I resemble that little girl sometimes. I get an idea in my head of what I want to happen in a particular situation and my Father stands by to help and guide me. It is His kitchen after all. Instead of accepting His wisdom, however, I insist on doing things on my own.
I end up making a mess, my recipe doesn’t turn out, and it takes far longer than it should. All because I persist in doing things my way. Never mind the fact that He’s been doing things since before time began. Forget the reality that He’s all knowing and perfect. And the most important detail is He loves me and knows what I need better than I do. He longs to teach me what is best. Why would I not take advantage of His offer?
Isaiah encourages us to, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
In other words, the time to get His help is now. Enough of this messing around in the kitchen, telling God to take a hike. Salvation is only the beginning; we need help in the peanut butter and jelly moments of life too. This “limited time offer” is when we need to ask for help instead of insisting on our way. We need His wisdom, timing,words, and most of all, love.
God adds to Isaiah’s invitation, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:6-9).
Our ways seem reasonable at the moment, but they won’t stand the test of time. God knows what is perfect for every situation - the right amounts, at the right time. His ways are as superior to ours as a gourmet meal by an experienced chef is to the sandwich of a willful three-year-old.
When I saw myself in Tanya’s story it wasn’t complimentary. It reminded me of my need to look into the face of my Father and say, “Your way is my way. Please teach me, Lord, how to think and act like you. I want to learn from the Master.”