precisely what Andy was doing one night. He was ready for bed but was down the hall, so I yelled from his room, “Andy, please come to your room for bed
It was taking him quite a while, but I could hear him approaching. It
sounded like he was limping, or dragging a foot. I heard him breathing heavy and grunting. So, I got out of the little seat in his room and walked toward him. I laughed, and at the same time was a bit baffled by what I
Andy had all kinds of stuff shoved into his pajamas. I mean everywhere
there was room to jam something in the outfit, he had done so. He looked like an overstuffed stocking pulled from the fireplace. I was baffled. “Andy, what is in your pajamas?” No reply.
This silly nightwear had that crazy zipper running from the slippered
bottoms covering his tiny feet, up his thigh, past his tummy, and up to the left
shoulder. I realized he had found every single toy animal in the house and
stuffed each one in his pajamas. A rubber elephant near his right foot, a
plastic dog on his left. A penguin on one shoulder, a raccoon under his arm. He must have had a dozen or so animals in his midsection; he looked pregnant. Of course his little bottom made for the best storage pouch. I’m guessing three lions, five tigers, a bison, and six chimpanzees were hugging his diaper.
“This is heavy,” he sighed, as he inched closer to me.
“Andy, take the stuff out of your pajamas.”
“Well then let me help,” I pleaded.
“Andy, you said its really heavy, right?”
“Do you want it lighter so you can walk better?”
“Ok Andy, let me take the stuff out of there.”
So Andy wants to be free of the burden, but won’t let me take it away. Sound familiar? Have you ever prayed to God like this…
"Lord, this thing really has a hold on me. It’s really weighing me down. This ______(fill in blank…drinking problem, drug use, affair, profanity, porn addiction, stealing at work, gambling, whatever) is weighing me down. I’m trudging through life. I’m not at my best. I need you to help me God, please.”
But when God moves in, walks compassionately toward us like I came to
Andy in the hallway, and says, “Let me take it,” what do we say? Often, we say no. Or, not yet.
In what I think is one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible,
Pharaoh displays this in the plague of the frogs. In one of the first plagues God sent, Egypt is inundated with hundreds of thousands of frogs...and Pharaoh wants each and every last one of these creatures removed from the land. He summons Moses and Aaron, pleading with them to “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me” (Exodus 8:8). Here is where it gets very interesting. Moses answers Pharaoh by telling him, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time.”
This must have been a relief to Pharaoh. He gets to decide for himself when the frogs must go. Obviously, he’ll be relieved, grateful, and wise and ask for this to happen immediately. Right? The frogs are history.
No. Not even close.
Not an hour from now, or ten minutes, or right away. Tomorrow! Take the
frogs away tomorrow. Is he kidding? This is so incredibly important. Circle
Exodus 8:10 in your Bible, because all too often we say, “Tomorrow Lord.”
Pharaoh wanted the plague to end, but still asked for one more night with
the frogs. So do we. We want that addiction to end, pain to stop, affair to cease, to quit drinking, but, “Not just yet, Lord. Give me one more night with the frogs.” Seems we often want help handling the addiction, but aren’t willing to turn it over and release it.
Andy wanted help, but not on my terms. How he expected to walk faster and not be burdened down while ten pounds of rubber and plastic toys were stuffed in his pajamas is beyond me. Why he didn’t want me to unzip the whole suit and let the animals fall to the floor is puzzling. Why Pharaoh wanted another night with the frogs is hard to understand. Was it pride? Stubbornness? Did he want help but under his own terms? Did he love the frogs too much to release them? For whatever the reason he kept his frogs, and Andy kept his animals, and neither the king nor the toddler seemed very happy with their decision. And we often ask for help but stubbornly hold on too. When the Lord meets you in the hallway and extends a merciful hand, take it, right then.
Don’t ask that he return tomorrow.