One day, years before children were routinely buckled into car seats, Savannah Grace and her mother were traveling down a deserted country road. Savannah couldn’t have been more than three at the time and while she knew she wasn’t allowed to stand up in the seat, she found it challenging to abide by the rule.
“Savannah Grace, sit down.” Her mother said it gently the first couple of times. Each time Savannah dutifully sat down and each time she sprang right back to her feet after a moment or two. The scenario kept playing itself until her mother finally said, “Savannah Grace! If you don’t sit down and stay seated, I’m going to reach over there and spank your little legs.”
Savannah sat down. They drove on in silence for a few miles until Julia sneaked a peak out of the corner of her eye and saw Savannah’s bottom lip quivering. Her heart melted a bit, as a mother’s heart is prone to do. Reaching over and patting her little girl lovingly on the leg, Julia said, “I’m proud of you. You’re sitting down just like I asked.”
Savannah let out a big old harrumph. “Well,” she said, “I might be sitting down on the outside but I’m standing up on the inside!”
That story always tickles me and it never fails to amuse my audiences. I suspect it’s because we see ourselves in Savannah. The truth is, we can spend our entire churchified lives sitting down on the outside and standing up on the inside, all the while justifying our willfulness. After all, it’s our life and we know what we want out of it and how to go about getting it. At least we think we do.
It’s the reasoning Eve once employed, the thinking that resulted in she and Adam being removed from the garden. And it’s the enemy of anyone who wants to lay claim to the enormous privilege the first couple lost– the joy of walking with God. You and I will miss or discover the blessings of God’s company by yielding our will to His. One submitted choice on top of another.