(I dedicate this to my youngest son, Nathan Michael Chriswell)
Please remember this illustration whenever you encounter resistance to the difficult commands of Christ, or you feel weakness in your ability to carry them out.
Racing to the kitchen table to feed his starving belly, a hungry little 4 year old boy, named Nathan, drops a loaded bowl of cereal. The milk and cereal have exploded onto the ground, effectively painting the surrounding kitchen cabinets and walls. At first, he is terrified and wants to just run away and pretend that this did not just happen, but soon he composes himself realizing that he must get this mess cleaned up before Daddy sees.
He scrambles to the paper towel holder and pulls off a 10’ reel, dragging it behind him, back to the disaster area. Without making a sound, he desperately tries to clean up the mess. He frantically wipes back and forth, up and down, spreading the milk and pushing the now soggy cereal all over the floor. He keeps trying and trying but the mess just seems to get bigger and bigger. The papertowels are now soaked and trailing a stream of milk wherever he pushes them. He knows he is in big trouble now, and no matter how hard he tries he cannot get the mess cleaned up. He finally gives up in frustration, and begins to cry.
After a few minutes, he reluctantly calls out, “Daddy, I need help…I made a big mess Daddy and I need your help!”. His father comes and asks what happened. Chocking back the tears, Nathan replies,“I was so hungry Daddy that I tried to race to the table with my cereal bowl and I accidentally dropped it…I tried to clean up my mess…I tried a lot…it was just a accident Daddy.”
His Daddy replies, “It’s ok son, I’ll help you get this cleaned up”, and he grabs some more papertowels and some kitchen cleaner. He gives Nathan a few and says, “Now let’s tackle this mess as a team, ok!” Little Nathan continues just like before, wiping back and forth, and up and down. Only this time, his Daddy is coming right behind him to clean up everything that Nathan is missing. Soon, it looks like it never even happened. Then his Daddy says, “We did it son…high five!” Nathan is happy and his Daddy is honored and proud to have been needed by his son to do something that he simply couldn’t do on his own.
Nathan not only found help for his mess, but He points us to the secret of the Christian life. We win, when we set down our fear and the pride of trying to do it all in our own strength and instead we call on “Daddy” who loves us and wants to help us. We must become like Nathan, in childlike humility and dependence, running to our “Daddy” with every single mess we make, and every single weakness we have. The victorious Christian life is only found through a team effort between us and our loving “Daddy”.