‘You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you rebellious people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.’ (Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Luke 11:11)
Summertime is here! We’re looking forward to our holiday in Scotland with our two Manchester Terriers. The younger one, just a year old now, has had a few problems – a nervous puppy. But usually he’s a happy, bounding boy. To be honest, we’ve been quite worried about his nervous behaviour and recently took him to a marvellous local dog trainer, someone who knows a great deal more than us and younger than I am. Now our young dog has more confidence and is settling down nicely with everyone, including other dogs. Now he can hardly wait to meet and greet them and play. We knew the brilliant success rate our dog trainer had but we didn’t think it would work for us. Still, we took heed of the dog trainer’s advice persevering with the new approach and as a result can’t wait to enjoy both dogs company as we explore beaches, lakes, woods and mountains!
As the years have passed I am not only (a little!!!) older but wiser too. I find it so much easier to take advice and guidance from those who know more than I do and yes that does sometimes mean sacrificing my autonomy – well, just a bit of it – to have a better, more fulfilled, life.
The anticipation of the holiday and my natural desire to be totally in charge of my own life reminded me of my walk with God. In the book of 1 Timothy chapter 4 we are reminded that there is much wisdom that can be taught to us by the young. And the book of Proverbs is full of advice to the young about the loving and wise guidance of those older than us – and it reminds the older wiser person to respect the young too. There is always someone wiser than us around; sometimes they’re younger than us, sometimes they are older. If we choose not to listen to them, we’re the losers and life will be harder to live and to enjoy.
God wants us to be happy! He wants us to have life in its fullness and to encounter him in and through Jesus Christ our Saviour and God. Sometimes we don’t see that the choices he gives us don’t mean losing out or being trapped; it means realising our own potential and being free to live enriched lives and enriching the lives of those we love. As we become older and more self aware, and more trusting, we can realise the plethora of resources that other people have and want to share with us and it’s easier to accept advice and share our wisdom too – life becomes better for everyone. The same is true when we encounter God in Jesus Christ and in one another. Life is richer, better, when we follow the commandment that Jesus gave us. ‘This is my commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.’ (John 15:12)