Celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary in the Grand Canyon brought some old memories to mind. In 2003, Ken and I went along on a youth mission trip to New Mexico and ended up driving to the Grand Canyon one day. Upon arriving, we decided to walk down some of the Bright Angel Trail. During our little hike, a bunch of rocks were in the way of our youth, who removed the pieces by throwing them over the edge. Ken quickly picked up the remaining rocks out of their hands. It was at that exact moment that a Park Ranger appeared around the bend! She shouted, “Rocks are not supposed to be thrown off the edge! They could hit someone in the head, because hikers are coming up from below.” Ken immediately dropped the rocks! She asked our group to move out of the way as her entire ensemble on mules, continued walking out of the Canyon using the trail. Her complete devotion to her job impressed us and silenced our entire group. Without saying anything to each other, at that moment, Ken and I decided to come back one day and ride the mules to the bottom of the Canyon.
We finally got an opportunity to go again this year. The very popular mule ride to the bottom of the canyon was booked full during our stay. However, we were able to acquire a mule ride which covered some of the South Rim of the Canyon. Upon arriving at the stables, the guide went over the rules of riding a mule. He constantly mentioned that the mules will need encouragement at times to move quicker and will try to take control. He warned, “Do not let them take control!”
The ride began with a brisk walk and then my mule decided he was bored and slowed down. I applied the prod to his backside and he quickly started going faster. After the first couple of times, he no longer listened to the prods of encouragement and settled into his own slow pace. Once and awhile he would speed up to catch up with the mule in front of him. I felt like a fly who consistently swatted his backside, not making any difference. Why was he not listening to me? Don’t get me wrong, the view of the Grand Canyon was so beautiful, but then I recalled a lesson from God’s Word!
The Lord revealed my actions as being stubborn like a mule. Did it bother me that the mule did not listen to me the entire time? Of Course! However, God used this little object lesson for me to listen to Him!
Well, that certainly made me sit up! I did not enjoy being compared to a mule!
God reminded me of someone else, King David. He finally had his kingdom and then there was the little problem with adultery and murder. Nathan, the prophet reminded him of the sins and how God was not pleased. King David acknowledged his sins and asked for forgiveness of his sins from God.
Finally, I confessed my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalms 32:5 NLT
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Psalms 32:8-9 NLT
A treat for the mules is having a day off after a ride! What is a real treat for you?
Our adversary the devil never has a day off and is always trying to tempt us into following him and not doing what God wants us to do. In that sense, we are acting like a stubborn mule, doing our will instead of our Heavenly Father’s. If we only followed His will, things would go better for us. It may not turn out the way we hoped for, but God knows what’s best and is always there for us.
Our children need to see us listening to our Heavenly Father, and not acting like a mule, following our own desires. That way they can know that being a Christian does not mean following the crowd, but following God!
God so loves each of us! What motivates each of us to listen to Him? That could be different for each child. If we figure that out as parents, we have jump started our children’s growth in Christ.