We were on our way to school. The kids were talking, the cd was playing, and I was praying. Praying for our 5 year-old daughter that has started to display passive-aggressive defiance to us after months of normal behavior. She has intentionally and deliberately been disobeying us when we ask her to do small tasks out of our view. She ripped her dance tights last night at dance practice after I had told her right before she left not to do it. She pretends not to be able to do her homework when we know and her teacher tells us she is very intelligent and can do it easily at school.
She is trying to test us. She is mad at us or mad about something. Maybe it is this transition. Maybe she is starting to display her true feelings about her world being radically changed. Maybe she doesn’t like our rules. Maybe she misses her Nana. Maybe she doesn’t know how to communicate all that is locked up inside her right now. Maybe….
And so I pray. I talk to God about this little girl. Ask him for ways to communicate our love. Ask for ways to talk to her. Ask for ways to pierce the pain and disappointment she must be feeling. Ask for some sort of understanding to explain what is going on.
And in the craziness that is our typical morning drive to school I hear a soft little voice come from the back seat. It breaks through the other two boys talking about the particulars of all that they know and all that they are going to learn that day and I hear the soft singing of that little girl. She is singing the same song that is playing in the car. She is singing:
“Be merciful to me.
Be merciful to me
Through shadow dark and valley deep
Be merciful to me”
And the truth of what see is singing pierces my heart. Mercy. I see her behavior, not as right, but as I see my own sin towards God. I realize that she is not only a sinner, but one that has been sinned against. I see that her disobedience is not directed towards me ultimately, but towards God. I am reminded that God once and still daily looks at my passive-aggressive defiance and issues not punishment, but mercy. I have hope found in only Christ. If he did it for me he can most surely do it for her. Not only that, but I can be an avenue of both God’s discipline and mercy.
She might never have known the intercession taking place for her life at that point, but God did. And truly out of the mouth of babes he ordained praise.