Have You Lost Traction?

Erik Cooper —  September 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you probably have a feel for the ever-percolating personality of my 8 year old son.

He’s smarter than me, and I’m quite certain that he knows it.

A master of negotiation, Obama should consider calling him in on Syria. Seriously, who would expect a 3rd grader brokering Middle East peace?

Even when given a specific directive, he will always manufacture a maneuver to make sure it goes down on his terms. So when last night’s masterful delays, “yeah-buts,” and sidesteps found the outer limit of my fatigued fatherly ego, dad and son said goodnight amidst a flurry of frustrated opposition.

“I love that kid more than my own life,” I wearily conveyed to my wife. “But he thinks he knows better than the rest of us, and that makes leading him nearly impossible. I find myself wanting to put obstacles in his path, to make his journey tougher until he learns to listen. Until he learns to trust me. For his own good.

Don’t you love when God uses your own pointing finger to highlight the three aimed straight back at you?

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I’ve had seasons of life where minuscule efforts yielded enormous payoffs. Where momentum was a plentiful commodity.

And yet other brash adventures, even God-honoring endeavors, for one reason or another just never found the traction I anticipated. I was smart enough, skilled enough, experienced enough, and yet big energy produced almost zero motion. What’s the difference?

I want to be careful here. There are innumerable reasons our efforts are frustrated, and we can’t reduce the Creator of the Universe to a simple math equation. But I believe God’s grace whispered some uncomfortable truth through the antagonism of my 8 year old boy.

“God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).”
–James 4:6 AMP

Sometimes I am full of pride.

As Christians, we are defined by what Jesus did for us, not what we do for Him. Yet somehow, even living by the power of this Divine transaction completely devoid of our own doing, we still find ways to swell up with pride. We (quietly) look down on others. We become contentious, self-reliant, and ego-driven. Our actions turn into a point of comparison, a self-righteous differentiator, a way to manufacture our own “salvation” while highlighting the deficiency of others.

It’s the height of irony (and our own sinfulness).

I firmly believe in those seasons of pride, God may show his love best by stripping the tread right off our tires. By putting obstacles in our path, to make the journey tougher until we learn to listen. Until we learn to trust Him. For our own good.

(Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?).

Do you feel opposition? Like you’ve lost your traction? Maybe, just maybe, your Father is whispering “I love you.” He opposes the proud (for our own good). But to the humble? To those wise enough to trust someone greater than themselves for The Answer?

Grace. Always grace.

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