Judging by the outcry, you would think we had banned our children from candy or something.
Last Wednesday evening, we pulled out of the church parking lot and headed home. While the kids were busy gabbing about life in teen/preteen-land, my husband looked over at me and mouthed, “Half-price shakes at Sonic”. I smiled and nodded. We didn’t say a word but I anticipated how excited the kids would be when we pulled up to their favorite shake place.
But when we passed the road that led to our house, the children began shouting in panicked frenzy.
“Dad! What are you doing?”
“You missed the turn!”
“What’s going on?”
“Are you getting so old you can’t remember how to get home?
“Where are we going?”
“Are we in trouble for something?”
I was taken back by their outburst. Had they become so routine oriented that they couldn’t function when there was a deviation from the norm? I caught my husband’s eye and grinned. We were tracking along the same lines…this night, at least.
I craned my neck and arched a brow. “We’re not going home yet. We have somewhere to go first.”
Bethany frowned. “But where? You didn’t say anything about running an errand earlier.”
Callie pursed her lips. “We never have to go to town this late.”
I shrugged and turned back around. “I guess you’ll have to see.”
They huffed. They complained. I couldn’t help it. I began giggling. “This is really driving you nuts, isn’t it?”
Bethany threw up her hands. “Of course it is! You won’t tell us where we’re going! You just keep saying to trust you. I want to know!”
I snickered. “Kind of like Abraham. God told him to pack up everything and move. Didn’t even tell him where he’d be going. He started out on a journey with no destination. At least, it seemed that way from Abraham’s perspective. That’s what faith is. Trusting God even when you don’t see the destination…yet.”
Oh, but the complaining didn’t stop. If anything, it increased. Whining, begging, pleading. At one point, my husband clenched his teeth. “I promise you, where we are going is a good thing. But if you say one more word, I’m going to turn this car around, you’ll miss out on something awesome, and you’ll always wonder what it was. So cool it!”
His threat worked. They finally chilled while I waxed poetic about the intricacies of faith. I admit, my husband and I were both feeling spiritually superior with our little ‘faith run’. We thought we’d found a brilliant way to teach trust to our routine-rigid kiddos. And they did learn something important…but then again, so did we.
As we neared the turn, we announced we were going to Sonic for half-price shakes. As the children cheered, we turned the corner but stopped short with a gasp. The Sonic was dark, no florescent lights or happy car hops. Just a sign that read, “This location temporarily closed due to a boil order”.
Can you see the irony here? Todd and I thought we were pretty smug and in control, teaching our children about the importance of faith. But the journey took a detour we hadn’t expected. How very like God to remind us that, even as parents, we aren’t the guiding force in our family. He is. I think the parents needed the faith run even more than the stressed out kids did.
Don’t worry. Once we got over our groaning, we puttered down the road a few more miles to a different Sonic—one that wasn’t experiencing the duress of tainted water. As the children smacked their sticky lips, Bethany leaned forward and grinned, “I like this faith-run-to-Sonic thing. Maybe next time we should do a faith run to Chick-fil-A.”
Maybe so. But knowing the surprise at the end sometimes takes the fun out of the journey.
Unless a boil order is involved.
I would love to hear from you. Have you ever planned a spiritual lesson that taught you more than the intended recipient? How would you define faith? Have you ever gone on a faith run? What was the result?