These are the thoughts that were going through my mind:
- If they help, this is going to take a lot longer.
- I don't really need any help.
- I don't even want help!
- I will have to do it all over again later because they will inevitably miss spots along the way.
- If they help I will have to take the time to train them, stand over them and it will be a lot messier because the hose would probably not stay on the car.
- I really, really, really, really wish they didn't look so cute and eager to help because it's going to make this a lot harder to say no!
You do realize that God doesn't "need" our help, don't you? That's what I thought about as I watched them beaming with excitement as they ran the sponges across the bottom of the car (the only place they could reach). God taught me, through this moment, that His love for me and His desire to allow me to be a part of His work is not because He "needs me" at all - it's because He loves me. He wants me to experience the responsibilities of being a child of His. He wants me to enjoy the benefits of my labors. He wants to teach me how to use my gifts and watch me grow. He delights in seeing me "help" Him, even if it makes things a little messier, takes a little more time and even if He has to go clean up after me when it's all said and done!
When Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead (John chapter 11), He proved to us that He wants us to be a part of His miracles and works. When He got to the tomb where Lazarus was dead and buried, He did something that is subtle but so important to understand. He asked those who were there to "roll the stone aside" and later, once He rose Lazarus from the dead, He told them "Unwrap him and let him go!" Now, we know that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, could have easily made the stone disappear. The burial cloths could have just fallen off or disappeared after He rose him from the dead. But He chose to use the people who were there to be a part of the miracle! He didn't need them, but He included them. Imagine their excitement and joy! To be a part of one of the greatest miracles of all time! Not just an observer....but an active participant.
The truth is, we are not "needed" by God. He could just speak something and it could happen. He doesn't need anything - He is everything. He does allow us, though, to be a part of what He is doing. I think I got a glimpse of why He does this that day in my driveway with my little girls. There is nothing more fulfilling than to see your children accomplish things they never thought they could do. There is nothing more exciting than seeing them grow in confidence and to stand with them, teaching them to be productive and to have a sense of accomplishment. Seeing the looks on their faces after the car was washed and then watching them run in and tell my husband "Look what we did, Daddy!!" was one of the most glorious moments of my day. I would've missed out on all of that if I had turned them away and done it myself.
Yes, I believe God could do it all without us. But you know what? He doesn't want to.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.