“It’s time to go to bed, sweetheart,” I say with an optimism that forgets I am raising a sinner. In my mind the little munchkin will say with a refined British accent, “Why, yes, good sir, you are correct. The dawn is upon us and I must head to my quarters.” And with that she’ll march her little tail into bed, close her precious eyes and go to sleep.
I’m shocked that my kind request is met with rebellion. “No! I don’t want to go to bed! I want to play with my dolls more!”
I change my tone a bit to let this little princess know who bought those little dolls. I’m still calm and kind but at this point she ought to know that the authority in her life has spoken.
At this point my little girl calls upon her inner Melvin Tolson and decides that this would be a great time to have a conversation. “Let’s talk about this, daddy!” She tries every tactic in her three-year old repertoire. She even tries to bribe me with two dollars to let her stay up. “Just five more minutes, daddy”.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…” says the Lord to this seasoned sinner. He knows that the right and fitting response would be a simple, “yes, Lord,” that is accompanied by a desperate prayer for the grace to have a heart that doesn’t grumble.
He also knows what he’ll get. A conversation.
“But Lord…you don’t understand the day that I’ve had.” On and on I go having my conversation with the Lord trying to convince him that I’m the exception to his rule. “Come on, Lord, just this once let me grumble. It will feel so good. It is what I need. After I grumble, I’ll feel better, I’ll repent, and all will be good. Just let me grumble for five more minutes. Puuhhhhllllleeassse!”
He’s unmoving. You see when he speaks the conversation is over. There’s no sense in playing the devils game of, “Did God really say?” No, he has spoken and he has spoken clearly. Conversation over. Every moment of grumbling after this declaration is outright rebellion.
Because I love my daughter, I make it clear to her that this conversation is over. I know that if I vacillate on this (and I wish I could say I was consistent on this) that there will be a time when some young punk is trying to get her to do things that ought not be done, and in that moment she’ll be tempted to have a “conversation” about God’s Word and wonder whether or not God really said what he clearly said. My hope is that she’ll have learned the lesson when she was three that God has spoken and it isn’t time for a conversation.
I hear a good deal in our culture about having conversations about certain things to which God has clearly spoken. And I know from raising my own children that these conversations will continue until they get their way or they submit to my authority and stop trying to have a conversation.
That’s why I question whether or not what we really need are more conversations. I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for teaching and reasoning and pleading and such. Yes, there is a time for that. But really the issue that people have is ultimately with God and His Word. Are we going to rebel and just keep talking and having a conversation in the hopes that somehow God’s Eternal Word will change or will we submit to God’s Word even if it feels like a sword piercing our heart?
God has spoken. Conversation over.