Matthew 7:13 (ESV) “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”

As I sat in the car, waiting for the parents to clear the car park I noticed a grandmother with a small boy, no more than six years old. She was encouraging the lad to get into school. He wanted the grandmother to walk along his side of the fence.

He stood resolute and defiant. Clearly this boy was not going to move. I was impressed that such a small child could be so fervent. The issue for the grandmother was that “his” side of the metal picket fence was the dangerous side, not the safe side that keeps the school path and the walkers protected from the cars! The grandmother refused to come to the car park side of the railings, and the small boy resolutely refused to do as he was being asked and so they reached an impasse. He stepped up his demands from request into a lot of screaming.

Eventually the grandmother walked the long way around to the other end of the fence so to escort the child towards the gate and school entrance a few feet away. At this point the boy became apoplectic. As grandma reached out he suddenly ran off across the car park away from her screaming and crying.

It was at this point my thoughts changed from being one who was a sympathetic but mildly amused spectator, into one being ready to jump out the car and chase after the child to head him off from potential danger. I hesitated and did not mindlessly rush at this because I did not want to add fuel to the fire of the boy’s meltdown, or to speed him up headlong into commercial traffic, because there is a major by-pass that goes around the car park and school. Other parents too had perceived the danger and helped out.

Knowing nothing of the situation but being familiar with children, I think there must be more to this child’s behavior than just being a power-play between two family members.

There was something much darker, much deeper hiding behind the boy’s calamitous display and meltdown. This was a display of anger from a distraught child. So what had started out as a simple request to walk into the playground with the grandmother evoked a deeper problem.

As I am no longer a governor for the school, I decided it was not my place to pursue the situation any further; except to report it to a teacher.

This small boy brought to mind some of the people I have known over the years who sadly ran away from God, despite God calling out to them, and in the process of their denial perished. They did not care about the danger they were in because they were hurting inside.

Hebrews 3:15:- As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (ESV)

Lord, I lift this little boy into Your tender care, and others like him who are just starting out in life. Please hear their cry and bring healing, peace and protection, at the right time may they hear Your voice,  Lord, we praise You for Your patience with us and we lift to You all those things in our lives that may still be in rebellion to the will of God in us. Please enable us to overcome our reticence to allow You into these situations. Lord, we lift up to You all the prodigals we know who are in denial of their reality and pray for Your Holy Spirit to meet them at their point of need, whether they recognize it or not. Please help us to be God’s shepherds in the situations we find ourselves to encourage them safely through the gates into salvation, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

By Roderick Marshall
Used by Permission

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