Each day as I pick up my boys from school I ask them about their day. One of them reports back with a consistent theme of conflict. Invariably someone at recess claimed he did something, that he didn’t quite follow the rules of the game.
Now since I know my son well, I can imagine, and even clearly hear, his response; an adamant, “No I didn’t!” And an argument begins.
Our family recently studied a fairly obscure passage in Numbers 20. The Israelites have been wandering in the desert for nearly 40 years and are finally on their way to Canaan, the Promised Land. They are really tired of wilderness and ready for this journey to be over.
But in between them and their journey’s end lies Edom. So they send a messaging to the King of Edom asking permission to travel through their land. They are refused. They ask again, promising to stay on the main road and pay for any water they may use. A completely reasonable request. They are once again unreasonably refused and the army of Edom comes out to make the point.
The Israelites have a choice. Go to battle and teach those unreasonable Edomites a lesson or take the long route, once again through the desert. What do they choose? They choose to set aside what they want, what they actually probably should get, and avoid the battle.
So as we prepared for school this morning we talked about this story. We talked about what it would look like to walk around conflict that comes in our way. We talked about what it means to set aside what we want. And we talked about how God will – wants to! – help us to do just that when we ask Him.
As the boys prepared to get out of the car, I told them that after school I wanted to hear one example from each of them of a moment today when they chose to walk around conflict rather than engage in it.
As I’ve been reflecting on this conversation, I know that this is something I need just as much as them. So, just as I challenged them, I want to challenge myself. I think it’s only fair that I have a moment to tell them about as well – a moment when I choose to walk around conflict, to lay aside how I want this day to go or how I want that person to behave.
I’ll start with asking – God, help me today. Soften my heart and prepare me for the conflicts that are bound to come.
I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation.