Knock, knock, “Mima (pronounced like Meemaw), is it time for your lunch break? Can we go for a walk?” My granddaughter and I have been walking partners since she was born.
I checked my computer’s clock; 12:04pm. “It IS lunch time!” I was impressed with her instinct. “Go put your shoes on. I’ll get mine and meet you downstairs.” A few minutes later, we were out the door, hand in hand.
We were just past the corner when she started to complain. “Mima, my legs hurt, will you carry me?”
My eyes widened, “Oh gracious no! You’re much too big for that. If you don’t want to walk today, it’s okay. We can head back home.”
She shook her head, “No, I want to walk.” She returned her hand to mine.
We were headed to say “hello” to the goats, who were feeding in the open space between our neighborhood and the houses up the hill. We reached the trail that led beside their grazing grounds, and she started whining again. “Mima, my ankle hurts. I don’t think I can walk anymore.”
I thought for a second and decided, “It is still quickest to go back the way we came. Let’s turn around now.” She frowned. “No, I want to see the baby goats.” And she gave me her hand.
As we passed the tribe (did you know that is what they call a herd of goats?), she whimpered again. “Mima, please carry me. My pinky toe is squished, and it hurts really bad.”
By now we were past the half-way point in our loop and forging ahead was the best choice. But I had noticed that her shoes had been difficult to get on, and I feared she might really be getting a blister.
“Tell you what”, I bargained. “You can take your shoes off once we get off the trail and back onto the sidewalk in our neighborhood.”
She agreed. I held her hand and we started again, but a few yards further, she stopped. “I can’t walk, Mima, my toe REALLY hurts.”
I fell for it. I love that girl. I would have carried her piggy-back, but I slept funny on my shoulder last night. Instead, I held her like a baby – a big baby! – with her knees over one arm and her shoulders and head resting on my other. She giggled, put her hand over mine, and we continued on our way. I was getting an unexpected upper body workout!
“Mima, can’t you carry me like mommy carries my baby sister? You know, with my head on your shoulder?”
She was really too big for that, but a change in position sounded oh-so good. So down the hill I trekked, her head on my shoulder, my hands across her torso and her feet dangling near my knees.
“Good gracious, when did this child get so big?”
“Mima, I’m falling! Scoot me up!”
I mustered all the strength I had left, popped her way up and folded her waist over my shoulder like a sack of rice. She giggled and from upsidown, held my hand. I was so relieved when that sidewalk came into view! When we got there, I put her down and told her she could take off her shoes.
She quickly removed them, squeezed my hand, and skipped on ahead. As I trailed behind, marveling over how sore my arms were from a walk, my heart realized something…
How do we do it?
We ask God for something and then complain incessantly about it. An example might be a:
We want God to provide certain experiences but then find fault and fail to enjoy them. These could be:
It is exactly what the Israelites did in Exodus. They had been slaves in Egypt and prayed to God to free them. He removed them from the grip of Pharaoh’s hand, but they found all kinds of reasons to whine.
As I thought about the ways people around the globe, all through the centuries, have grumbled against God and His hand of provision, I wanted to fall on my knees in awe. He has put up with so much! He gives us what we want, and we change our minds and complain. He carries us, but we gripe, wanting more and different.
We all have a hand in grumbling against God.
I do it. You do it. All of mankind, generation after generation has done it. And yet He loves us. He still cares for us. His heart is still for us.
And I thought my arms were tired? The pain I felt was absolutely nothing compared to what Jesus endured with nailed hands outstretched on the cross, body bleeding, lungs suffocating, heart breaking… all of that for the grumbling, whining, never-satisfied human race.
Wow. I jogged and caught up with my granddaughter. Oh, how I love that girl! One day, I’ll explain to her how a hand in hand walk with her plunged me into a heart to heart talk with God. But for today, I’ll just be grateful that He loves me so perfectly and I get to love her.