As I lay in bed waiting to fall back asleep in that sweet quiet time between his departure and the kids' voices greeting me, I had some moments of clarity.Why was it that we wanted so much for our children to obey us? Did it really matter if they turned on the radiant heat? Other than a little higher electricity bill, no. So what was the big deal?I realized that-at home, the environment is relatively safe. The kids know what they can and cannot do, and within those constraints, they exercise their free will (our children more strongly than others). But, when we are away from home, the girls do not know what is and is not safe. If I tell them not to touch something and they disobey at home, we pay for a warm floor. Away from home? The possibilities can be much more serious.
In order to keep them safe, we need them to obey us in the little areas so that they are trained to immediately obey us in the big areas.I then got a "click" moment from God. The parable of the many talents where the servants were given something and some multiplied them and then were given more. I've always heard it taught about money or talents. This time, it struck me that obedience is a talent. If I am faithful to God in little areas with not much consequence (getting up earlier to spend time with Him, praying instead of scrolling through the Facebook yard sale page because I'm trying to fill time, spending money on others instead of selfishly when I get a couple extra dollars-focusing on what He cares about instead of myself, etc), then He will give me a chance to be faithful in big areas.
When Abraham was led to the desert to sacrifice Isaac, it was not his first encounter with trusting God.
God first asked him to leave his home and go where God led him. Abram obeyed, faltered at Pharaoh's house, but kept trying, and with continued proven obedience and trust, earned the privilege of the ultimate test. What comes from these tests and trials? A deeper faith, a closer relationship with God, a heightened connection and fulfillment from following Him, and a satisfaction in our very souls.If I will choose to be obedient to God in little areas where it doesn't seem to matter one way or the other if I obey, then my obedience multiplies and He can ask me to be obedient in large areas where it matters more and affects more people-thus showing His glory. It is our purpose to direct others to Him, not to get credit for ourselves.
All of this from a little programmable thermostat in our bathroom. Best part? I spoke to the girls when they were awake and said, "Girls I have to talk to you about something. Somebody broke the rules and pushed buttons in the bathroom." Right away, our almost-5 year old piped up and said, "It was me, Mom.""Thank you for telling the truth, Rachel."
If we can teach our children at this stage, cannot God also teach us no matter what age we are? :)