We took the family to see Madagascar 3 in 3D the other day. (A great family movie for all ages!) The nine of us filed into our seats and got settled while I helped the two youngest (ages 4 and 2) with their special glasses, which went over very well and they were oohing and aahing over the scenes jumping out at them.
A little while into the movie there was a particularly awesome 3D scene and I excitedly turned to the little girls to share their reaction because I just knew they must be almost overwhelmed with the awesomeness of something they don’t see everyday – or really ever! But instead of childlike awe and wonder they were staring blankly at the screen – without their glasses on! I couldn’t believe they were missing the experience. What happened to the initial oohing and aahing? Surely they just didn’t understand that if the glasses stayed on there would be more of that? So in a screeching whisper I coaxed and cajoled until they put their glasses back on and sure enough their sweet little faces lit up again! For about 5 minutes… and then the glasses were off again. I coaxed and cajoled again and glasses went on and so it went for the rest of the movie because I could not stand the fact that they were watching a dull and blurry screen when those little glasses so easily changed the whole game. It made no sense really. They saw and experienced how much better it was with the glasses on so why would they ever want to take them off? But what could I do? Forcing the glasses on would have been counterproductive, not to mention rude if crying and fighting ensued. I was forced to watch the movie and simply accept the fact that I had done all I could to help my little girls experience the magic of a 3D movie, and failed.
This parenting moment reminds me an awful lot of the gift of free will God our Father gives His children. He teaches and guides and coaxes and cajoles but ultimately we have the choice to follow and live in his will or not. He gave us the gift of being able to freely choose for ourselves to accept Him or reject Him, that is, to live out our 3D life with or without our glasses on! Of course He wants us to experience the fullness and beauty of our world, and creation itself was designed to elicit our awe and wonder, but if we won’t wear the glasses then we get the grainy and dull version. How heartbreaking for God our Father to watch us partaking in life with less than He intended and less than we deserve. He’s set us up Royally and at times we choose the pauper’s lot, hurting not only ourselves but also our ever-loving Father in Heaven.
Why would we do that?? I suppose it’s one thing if we don’t know any better, but even when we do we often still reject God’s more excellent way. Like my 4 and 2-year-old rejecting their glasses for no apparent reason, even after they had experienced the wonder of having them on. It makes no sense! Why not do it the way God has prescribed? We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The answer lies partly in the cunning voice of our most ancient adversary. The distractions and enticements that lead us away from the simple and obvious path of truth cause us to question the truths we’ve seen with our very own eyes. The evil one deceives and conceals while obscuring our minds from counting the cost. This is what Jesus warned against when He said,
Mt. 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
There is one path that leads to Heaven and It’s a path of Love. We were created to know God and as such to Love. We are called to be like little children, not only to Love but to be Loved. Jesus is saying, buyer beware, the wide and varied paths lead directly to the manipulator of all that is good, for the evil one creates nothing of his own. And when his work is done he can count on our own pride to perpetuate the lie. After all who wants to admit they’ve chosen unwisely or wrongly?
God our loving Father wants so much for us to put on our glasses and expose the lies for what they are but more importantly to see the Love He offers so vividly that it seems we can reach right out and grab it!
Lord we pray that you illuminate the narrow road and give us the grace to choose to be on a path straight to you! Amen.