Long walks in our neighborhood are my favorite way to stay active, and usually they are fairly routine. Most days I pass by the same scenarios: landscape companies at work, people out walking their dogs, and cars zooming off to work. But on this particular day, not too long ago, I came around the bend of a familiar street and saw something that immediately struck me in the heart. There on the front lawn of the corner house was an older couple trying to navigate mowing their grass together.
At first mention, it doesn’t seem that extraordinary. Mowing the grass is pretty basic to home ownership, but let me describe this scene to you. The older gentleman, who appeared to be in his mid to late 80’s, was rail thin, moving very slow, and looked like a light breeze might blow him over. He appeared to be struggling to push the mower, but wasn’t really letting it phase him. His wife seemed to be much more agile, and was confidently walking right next to him, lovingly coaching and instructing his efforts, and gently supporting his back with her left hand as they both moved forward one slow step at a time, mowing the lawn. I couldn’t make out exactly what she was saying to him but it seemed like he was playing close attention to her direction, and she was smiling as they went along.
The sweetness of the moment captivated me, and I was thankful they didn’t notice me awkwardly stop and watch them for a few seconds. As I stood there, fascinated by this loving moment between the couple, I imagined the conversation they might have had that morning before they decided to mow the lawn. After sipping his coffee, he looks up at her and says, “Honey, I want to mow the grass today.” And she sighs and says, “But honey, the doctor said that is not a good idea. You just don’t have the strength anymore.” A moment passes, he ponders her reminder, and finally says back to her, “But honey, I really want to. I know I can’t do it on my own. Will you help me?” And so, because she loves him and knows how much he enjoys mowing, she willingly joins his efforts as he heads out to the garage. She is confident if she doesn’t help him it won’t be long before he tires out or even worse, hurts himself. And he is smart enough to understand his limitations and ask for help to do it.
And so, as I stood there observing this moment between then, watching how they made such a great team, I realized I was watching a real-life example of how God strengthens me when I allow Him to guide me, direct me, coach me, and encourage me when I want to give up. And I was reminded how eager He is to take over when I just can’t push the load any longer on my own.
And that is when my eyes teared up. I know myself too well! How many times have I pigheadedly attempted to do things on my own without stopping to ask God to be a part of the journey? Caving in doesn’t happen often enough until I am way too tired, cranky, worn out, and trapped in my “stinkin’ thinkin’. Then I finally break down and invite Him into my day’s journey. Brilliant, right?
Wonderfully aware that this struggle to trust in only ourselves would probably be an obstacle for many of us, God made sure He mentioned in His Word the benefits awaiting us for not being quite so “thick headed.” In Matthew 5:3, Jesus tell us to expect a blessing when we come to the end of ourselves when He said in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There are other blessings Jesus lists after this one, but they too are realized only through our total dependence on our Heavenly Father.
Well, I continued on my walk, and later decided to circle back around to the same street and see how this story unfolded with the couple. When I finally made it back to their house, I had to chuckle at what I saw. The wife was now confidently mowing the grass, with no break in stride, and her husband was contentedly sitting in a lawn chair in the driveway, sipping a bottled water and watching her. He even smiled and waved to me as I passed by. His face beamed peace and relief in his decision to pass the baton of mowing to his wife. He had come to a place of rest.
So now I would like to ask you to ponder this… what area of your life do you need to invite God to be a part of? What is holding you back from leaning on Him in dependence? Are you stubbornly pushing the mower of life on your own or will you invite Him to help, guide, and come along side of you, and hold you steady as you take the next step?
Psalm 46:10 “Cease striving, and know that I am God”
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