They got their food to go. The parents, for the first time ever, let the three-year-old hold his sister’s hand on the way across the parking lot to the car. Ezra took that job very seriously and talked with her gently about being careful to watch for cars. He never let go of that sweet little hand till they reached the car and climbed into their car seats. The little family distributed the chicken nuggets and asked Ezra to say the prayer before they ate their food. This is what he prayed from that back seat where hearts are really pretty fresh from God, Himself:
Dear God, thank you for letting me hold Colleyanna’s hand all the way to the car while we didn’t hold on to anyone else.”
The child did not even know what all he said in that little prayer.
He said he loves his sister. He said he already knows that it’s his job to protect her and take care of her. Brothers and sisters are for loving. It’s our responsibility to take care of each other…especially in the family of God.
He said that he was happy he got to hold her hand all the way. There was a destination and the little boy wasn’t letting go till they were safely there. Are we thankful for the “all- the-way” aspect of Christianity? Are we willing to go the distance with brothers and sisters till we, together, arrive safely at the big destination? Forbearance in Ephesians 4:2, is a characteristic of walking worthy of the vocation to which we have been called. It means the ability to “keep on putting up with” each other. We are flawed and sinful and, sometimes, going the distance with each other is not a walk in the park.
He knew the reason she needed his hand. He had been taught about danger. Do we take the spiritual dangers around us seriously? I mean, relative to the souls that we influence, …those who are younger in the faith than are we…do we hold their hands and do everything we can to protect them from the roaring lion, the subtle snake, the wolf in sheep’s clothing and the father of lies? Are we sober about the danger?
He knew that the big difference on this day was that Daddy had let him do this without either of their tiny hands holding to the hand of an adult. If he only could imagine the trepidation living in the hearts of those Christian parents. Today, it’s sending them a few feet ahead in the parking lot. Tomorrow, it’s sending them a bit further… to the classroom or the workplace or the university. One day soon, it’s that father giving away the little hand of that sweet little girl for good, by the light of some candles, in front of the minister… to some young man who’s not nearly good enough.
Without one reality, it would all just be too big…too much…too overwhelming for good parents to do. But the saving reality is this. One day…maybe even a little bit every day…the daddy will give the hands of those sweet children to Jesus. And really, that little boy who thanked the Lord that “we didn’t hold on to anyone else” will be ever grateful to the same Lord that we are holding on to Someone Else. And that Someone is a very present help in any time of trouble (Psa. 46:1). He is the ultimate Protector. And He will never let us go until we safely reach the destination.