At the beginning of my kindergarten school year, the teacher handed out boxes of crayons. Old boxes were issued to my morning class while new boxes were given to the afternoon class. Because the supply of old boxes was about five students short, a handful of morning students was given new boxes. I was one such lucky child. After writing our names on the boxes, the crayons were stacked in the cupboards lining one side of the classroom.
One day at drawing time, my box was nowhere to be found. Kneeling on the floor, I continued to dig around in the cupboard long after the other students had returned to their seats to begin the assigned task. My teacher was nice at first, helping me to search for the box with my name on it; nice, that is, until she noticed me looking through the boxes of new crayons.
"No point in looking at those," she said a bit too sharply for the sensitive child that I was. "Your box will be one of the older ones like the rest of the morning class." Authority had always made me nervous; actually, at times, it still does. My voice quivered as I explained that I'd been given a new box. I continued to look at the new boxes through watery eyes.
"Stop it! Look for your name on the old boxes." Every face in the room turned toward us. Some faces look worried, some were slightly distorted by attempts to suppress nervous giggling.
Okay, here I was at a crossroads. Do I walk the path of authority and look at the old boxes of crayons for my name knowing it wouldn't be there or do I continue on the path I knew to be true and look at only the new boxes? Hey, I was only six. I would undoubtedly walk the path of authority, which, in this case, was my teacher. Reluctantly, I pretended to look for my name on old boxes of crayons. It all seemed hopeless. Tears rolled down my face.
That's when I heard a wee, small voice. "Let go and let God," it said.
So I did. I sat back and totally relaxed. I waited for God to help me. My tears dried up and my sense of well-being returned.
I have no recollection of this teacher, of her face, her build, her age. But how well I remember her hand with its stubby fingers as it accidentally knocked a new box of crayons on the floor, a box with my name on it. With a slight vocalization that bore no resemblance to an apology, she pushed the box into my hands, stood up, and returned to the front of the room.
This was a lesson that repeated itself many times in the decades that followed, sometimes in big ways and sometimes in small ways: Do what you can under the circumstances but then let go and let God. The most seemingly impossible of conditions, no matter how big or small, have a way of righting themselves for the good of the whole when you give it all over to the One who can when you can't.
Now someone out there is bound to say, "Yes, but, when I gave it over to God, my dog still died." The results of letting go and letting God are not always to our liking. That's where trust and looking for the bigger picture come into play.
Bottom line? Live life with God at your back, or not. Your life, your choice.
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