When that time comes I will go out into the lawn with them and demonstrate. I will get down on their level and let them try and walk along side of me until they get the hang of it. After a few demonstrations and having them walk along side of me for a few weeks, I will formally hand over responsibilities to them. I will transfer my authority as the home owner to them, my kids, and give them the key to the mower. Then I will go back into the house.
While I’m in the house, I will listen for them and keep my ears open for any cries for help. I’ll be thinking about them a lot, and hoping they do well and really take ownership in the work. While sitting in my chair I’ll glance over at their pictures on the coffee table and think about how much I love them and how proud I am to be their father.
Then I’ll remember that the lawn falls prey to voles and grub worms during certain times of the year. For a moment I’ll be concerned but then I’ll remember how I showed them how to get rid of these vermin and parasites and that there is nothing to fear because my sons are in control and they have way more power than those little things. Just step on them and smash them. I love watching them take authority over these things – just like I taught them to do.
Never in a million years would I consider opening the window and start shooting my sons with a BB gun in the knees to teach them something or to see if they can still take care of the lawn while in pain. Never in a million years would I take some dandelion seeds and throw them out into the lawn. Never in a million years would I ‘take’ one of my sons while the other son weeps for the loss of his brother and calls me “mysterious.”
Why? Because I’m a loving father. Because suffering never really teaches us anything other than how to endure more suffering. Because just as Jesus said, “a kingdom [or lawn!] divided against itself cannot stand.”
If I was telling my boys to take care of the lawn while hurting them in any way, or allowing voles & grubs into the lawn, or weeds – I would not have a lawn for very long, and I would be a terrible father. My sons would likely give up, thinking that I must have changed my mind about wanting a nice lawn because I’m sending all their problems. “We might as well sit tight and take a break – it looks like Daddy must have changed his mind about us.”
Satan’s #1 goal is trying to deceive us into thinking God is somehow responsible for evil & suffering because our entire identity is formed by how we experience God’s love.
Because we have fallen for this philosophical deception we come up with complicated, false theories & doctrines about the absolute sovereignty of God which is completely foreign to the original audience and authors. We tell the world that “God is in control of everything” and lay down in the lawn while the weeds, voles & grub worms take over. We tell each other that Daddy’s tools & gifts stopped working anyway. Our loved ones die from grub worm bites, and at the funerals we try to comfort them by saying Daddy is in control and “Daddy works in mysterious ways.”
But He does not work in mysterious ways. Jesus was “the exact representation of the Father’s being” (Heb. 1:3) and He was good ALL the time. We don’t need to guess what God is like – Jesus already showed us. He was an open book. And then He put us in control of the lawn.
To this, there are some Christians who will say, “That makes for a pretty small God” as if claiming that removing evil from God somehow diminishes His size or His nature. To me, that’s just sad. Removing the allowance of evil from God doesn’t diminish His nature or character – it strengthens it. It puts evil its proper place – “Satan, the father of lies”. Anything other than that Jesus describes as the “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” which is attributing evil to God’s goodness.
Other Christians will say, “Wait a minute, I learned a lot from the times of my suffering.” Of course you did, because “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Just because we learn something from our suffering doesn’t mean God is causing it! He “works it together” for your good because He loves you but He certainly isn’t up there shooting you with a BB gun to “teach” you something. He loves you just like you love your kids, except infinitely better!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – Jesus
God loves you. If something is not going well or if there is evil in your life, for the love of God use the authority He gave you and command it to leave. “The power of life and death is in our tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). You have the keys to the lawn mower. Pick up the rake and smack that thing in the head. Don’t blame God. If you want to blame someone, blame the adversary – Satan. And then step on him.
May we trust in the goodness of our Father. May we trust that our Daddy’s garage is full of “everything we need for life & godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). May we look up at the house window, see our Father giving us a ‘thumbs up’ from His chair and mouthing the words “I love you. Well done. You’ve got this.”
Written by: Jeff Berger