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Have you ever tried to restrain a two year old and keep him from running. It is like trying to hold a wild bronco by the bridle. Twisting, turning, pushing and pulling, they try everything in their power to break free of the hold being placed on them. The moment you let go they take off running, seeing how far and how fast they can go. If you try to pick them up they go into what my husband and I term ‘anti-lift mode’, contorting their body to be a limp noodle you are unable to hold.

I have a son who has a need for speed. His favorite all time movies are Cars and Cars 2. He has longed for a motorcycle since he was two and has loved to be on the go and in constant motion since birth. There have been many times when I have had to put a locked grip onto his arm to restrain him from taking off. What would happen if I kept him in that locked grip and never let go to let him run free? What happens when I do let go, do I lose control or do I gain something in the letting go?

When he was a toddler my hand restrained him from running out into the street or a full parking lot, it was there for protection and guidance. Did he always like it? No. However, there were times when the parking lot was empty or we took him to a park or just sent him out the back door where he was allowed to run free and without restraint. Did he learn something from this? Yes. He learned there was a time to walk and a time to run, a time to be on guard and a time to be free. He learned that I was placed in his life as a guardian, not as a dictator and he learned to feel for my protective hand when danger might be around.

Walking through life I have felt that death grip on my arm, launching out into the busyness of life without a thought about where I was heading or what I was about to get myself into, trying to yank my arm away as if I know what is best. But the Lord’s grip is both firm and loving, His grip is there to protect as well as to guide. Hebrews 12: 7-11 in the Message Bible reads –

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

I have also felt the freedom of the run, the wind in my hair and the delight in forging ahead knowing that the boundaries have been set into place and I am free to explore, free to enjoy, free to be in the moment without concern for danger because I am in a secure setting.

Our Father is a loving Daddy who watches over our coming and going, He has a protective hand waiting to grab our arm at a moments notice to keep us from launching out and getting hurt, but just like that two year old, we can twist and turn and try to break free because we want to just run and be free, or we can learn to watch for the oncoming traffic and begin to walk by His side, trusting that His arm will reach out to shield us if danger heads our way.