At sunset, I was quite tired from transplanting a cherry tree in the front yard of my corner lot; but I still needed to tie it down to protect it from the wind. As I pounded stakes into the ground, I heard the gleeful squeals of small children in the distance. Looking up, I saw a man following two small bicycles heading in my direction. One bike was clad with pink ribbons and a tiny little girl. Big brother, though not much bigger, was riding ahead. I returned to pounding stakes.
Moments later I heard the man say, "Do not cross the street. Wait for me at the corner." Sure enough, when I looked back the boy had peddled farther ahead and was waiting at the corner. "Which way should we go, Daddy?" said the little boy raring to cross. "Let's go this way son, so we can stay on the sidewalk," said the man. "There's not a sidewalk on that side of the street." I saw them turn and go up the cul-de-sac away from my house.
I finished pounding in the stakes and was cutting twine when I heard again, "Do not cross the street. Wait for me at the corner." Again, the boy had zipped ahead and was waiting at the street corner. As his dad caught up with him, the boy asked, "Can we cross the street now?" The man said, "yes," and the boy zoomed to the sidewalk in front of my house and started down the short cul-de-sac that I live on.
I tied a strip of cloth around the trunk of the tree and began tying twine to the cloth. "Wait at the corner," said the man as he rounded the end of the cul-de-sac. A few moments later, I heard a shout, "Son, why did you cross the street? Why didn't you wait for me?" There was no answer. The man asked again, "Why did you cross the street?" After a pause, the boy explained, "Because I wanted to." The father was distressed. "I told you to wait for me!" After a longer pause, the boy replied, "Oh, Daddy, I forgot." "No, that is not acceptable," said the man disappointedly. "Now I can no longer trust you. Our walk is over."
How familiar those words sounded as I remembered my own children saying, "because I wanted to" or "I forgot." And"I can no longer trust you" struck deep sorrow. The deed was done, the trust broken, and the walk was over.
As I finished tying the twine to the stakes, I realized the greater significance of the event I had just witnessed. I remembered when my Father in heaven had told me to "wait at the corner" and I did not listen. How that must have disappointed Him! The trust I shattered as I disobeyed His Word and my "walk" with God ended.
I don't know what happened after the man took his children home. He seemed to be a loving father. After all, he wanted them to cross the street under his protection and stay on the sidewalk where it was safe. Perhaps he was merciful to his erring son. What I do know is that my Father in heaven has shown mercy to me. And like my cherry tree, I have been transplanted and anchored by His Son.
"For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures... But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:3-7).