The little boy doesn’t want to stop playing in his sandbox, so he ignores his mommy when she calls. He wants to play with the neighbor kids instead of taking a bath in the middle of the day. So when his mom picks him up to carry him inside, he kicks and screams. “No! I want to play. Why can’t I play?”
The mommy puts him in the warm bath and begins to wash her little boy, but he sobs. He slaps her arm away. Then, when she smacks his bottom, he pouts. He pouts as she dries him off, and puts his new clothes on him. Brand new jeans, and a new t-shirt with his favorite Ninja Turtle on the front. But he still pouts, arms crossed tightly in front of him.
The mommy scolds him. He pouts. She tries speaking softly, soothingly, lovingly. She hugs him. He still pouts. She buckles him into the carseat and he begins to cry. “I wanna play in my sandbox,” he says over and over.
“We’re going to Grandma’s house,” the mommy says. The little boy loves going to Grandma’s. But he stubbornly says, “No! It’s not fair. I wanna play.”
When they arrive at their destination, the mommy has to pull his arms away from in front of the boy where they are still tightly crossed. She runs her fingers through his still-damp hair, and straightens his shirt.
Taking his hand firmly in hers, they walk into Grandma’s house.
“Surprise!” he hears. He sees colorful balloons and streamers, presents and cupcakes. His cousins and friends are there, laughing and welcoming him. They begin to sing, “Happy Birthday.”
The little boy looks at his mommy standing beside him with a huge smile on her face. “It’s all for you,” she says.
The sandbox is forgotten. Let the party begin.
Solomon tells us not to envy what other people have. He assures us God has something better for us who are His children. The thing is, we only see our world in the space of a sandbox. God has a much bigger view of our lives.
So when Solomon tells us the humble will receive a reward of riches, honor, and life, we might think that means we’ll get a bigger sandbox, and get to play in it longer. When Solomon says generous people will be blessed, we think that means we’ll get a raise so we can buy more toys to play with in our sandbox.
Solomon tells us not to envy sinners because the reality is, they have no hope. You see, God is getting us ready for the party He’s got planned for each one of us.
We might see it as unfair that we don’t have the state-of-the-art sandbox our neighbor has. We can’t imagine there is anything better than having that sandbox. But God sees way beyond that sandbox.
We might feel the sting of his discipline. But sometimes He has to smack our bottom to get us ready. We might pout or complain or question. But God wants to take us firmly by the hand and get us to what He knows is ahead.
And what is ahead is so much better than a bigger boat, or a better job, or fame, or even health.
In my example of the little boy, it would have been so much easier on him if he’d gone without a fight. And that’s how I want to make my own journey to where God is taking me. I don’t want to fight Him, or question Him, or demand anything from Him. I want to put my hand in His and let Him lead me.
Because I believe that where He leads is so much better than this sandbox I’m living in right now.