Even though Caleb was only three years old, he had already racked up more hours than you could imagine in his shiny black Power Wheels Ford F-150 truck, the plug-in, power-up kid trucks with the hard tires on it. He loved everything about it—the sporty chrome wheels, the adjustable seat, the cup holder for his juice, and even a sound box that played his favorite song—the theme music from Fireman Sam. He would drive his older brother and sisters around the backyard, making stops at the grocery store, lumber yard, church, and gas station whenever he was running low on fuel (it only took diesel, of course). Dad had told Caleb he was never to leave the back yard; it was for his own good. It didn’t take long before Caleb wanted to know what else was out there beyond the backyard, what else he was missing out on.
Dad was inside the house one day—doing whatever it is that dads do when they are supposed to watch the kids while Mom’s at the store—when he first heard the sound of hard tires clunking on the gravel road. He looked up and saw Caleb driving down the street. Dad never moved so fast as he did at that moment. He ran after Caleb down the street until he finally caught up with him and stood in front of the truck.
“Whoa, where ya going, buddy?” asked Dad.
“I’m gonna get some chicken nuggets,” Caleb said with a confident resolve.
In Caleb’s mind, he was free from the constraints of the backyard. Before, he was limited in where he could go and what he could do. Now he was free to roam wherever his little heart led him. True freedom, right?
Not so much.
The “freedom” Caleb believed he was enjoying was, in reality, freedom that would lead to his suffering. What he didn’t realize was that at the end of the street was a road that merged with a highway, the kind that had cars traveling upwards of fifty-five miles an hour. As his father, Dad realized there was grave danger in permitting him too much freedom. That’s why he was confined to the safety of the backyard.
Likewise, our heavenly Father realizes if given too much freedom, it will be to our detriment. That’s the amazing part about God’s law. It was given to us not by some overprotective Scrooge who doesn’t want us to have a good time. Instead, His loving, life-giving laws were delivered to us as someone who loves us and has our best interest in mind. Dictators have laws that benefit them; someone who loves gives rules that benefit others. Indeed, God didn’t lay out a provision that said, “If you do these things, then I’ll love you and adopt you.” His laws, summed up in the Ten Commandments, are Him saying, “I love you, and these rules are good for you and for others. Trust me when I tell you these are given for your benefit and with your best interest in mind.”
Once we reach the realization our Father’s commands are a fence for His children’s protection, we will more joyfully obey them and not see them as a burden but as what they really are—a blessing.