There was a woman and her four year old son that always shopped at a local grocery store that contained the only penny gumball machine left in the world. It was located between the electronic entrance doors that could only be activated by stepping on the magic pad just infront of the doors. Traditionally, as they would enter the store she would give him a penny and help him turn the knob while he held his little hand under the chute for his gumball. Today he had decided he could do it by himself and he was adamant about it.
The woman continued through the doors to get a cart and waited for him to come through the doors. But he never came. Several seconds later she went to the glass doors and saw his little hand clutched around the knob of the machine with terror on his face. He wasn't strong enough to turn the dial by himself and she could tell that if he let go right then, he would lose the penny and he wouldn't get the gumball either.
She knocked on the glass and motioned for him to let go of the machine and step on the pad to activate the doors so that she could get to him and he stretched out his foot but he was only four after all and four year olds don't have much stretch. She noticed a bead of sweat start down his forehead and into his eye. But he couldn't do anything about it because he was still clutching that knob with all his might and cupping his other hand under the chute. Terrified.
He looked up with tears streaming down his face. He was going to lose his prize. The woman quickly dug through her purse and held up a hand full of change. If he would just let go...step on the pad... she would give him anything he wanted. He could have anything!
It occured to her that this is what God must feel like every day. He sees us on earth clutching to what we want and afraid to come toward him because we might lose what we we're hanging onto that keeps us from Him.
It occurs to me, that we might have to give up the "sure thing" to do what He needs us to do. We might have to give up a great job that takes us away from Him, a habit that creates dischord with our Spirit, it might even be a friend that ridicules or mocks our obedience to Him. I can also think of several things I should do more of, that would close the gap I sometimes feel between us. That might just open the doors that would lead us through to a much bigger picture, where we could have anything we want!
My dad used to say "bigger picture" all the time. Right after "What the hell were you thinking...?!" And now that I am a grown up myself and have the opportunity to look back and see the hand of God in my life...over and over..... and over and over again.... I realize that... Dad was right. There is a God and sometimes, He needs me to stretch a little harder toward the bigger picture.
That story has been on my mind all day! Someone gave it to me once when I needed it. To whoever needs it today (maybe it was me all along) I say, Trust God. Trust what you know in your heart. You're going to have to stick your foot out and touch the pad. It might be a big stretch, but if you start right now, you can do it.