For some reason today, my thoughts were recalling Christmases of long ago. In particular I remembered one exciting Christmas morning when a very special gift was waiting for me beneath the tree.
When I was a little girl I was a real tomboy. I had no interest in dolls and little stoves and tea sets. I wanted trucks and bows and arrows and a train set. How excited I was when on the morning of the particular Christmas that I recall, there was a shiny silver track with a black engine and various colors of train cars to hook to the engine. It was a beautiful sight for my eyes to behold.
Immediately I sat down and took hold of the pieces of silver track. I was in a hurry to put them together and get the train to chugging around it. My Dad offered to help me put the track together. “I can do it by myself,” I remember saying in great confidence. I took one piece of track and attempted to insert it into a second track piece, but it didn’t want to go in. “You sure you don’t need some help?” my Dad asked. “No, I can do it,” I answered, still determined to do it without any help.
It took some time working at it, but I did get the track laid. I set the engine on and hooked several cars behind it. Then, I flicked the switch and watched the little train chug around the track. Well, it nearly chugged around the track. It came to a piece of track and stopped, the electric engine still whirring but not going anywhere. What had happened?
I removed the engine and looked at the track pieces. I had not fully understood the grooves and how they were to slot into each other. I had forced one piece into the other and it didn’t lay flat. The engine couldn’t go over it. My face must have been a great picture of disappointment. I had only just got the train set and now it was broken.
Without a word my Dad looked at the two ill-fitted track pieces. Then, he pulled them apart. I noticed his big hands and fingers. They were so strong. He bent the piece that I had nearly broken, and then he slipped the pieces together properly. He smiled and said, “Now try it.” I put the engine back on, flicked the switch, and watched in great delight as the train pulled its cargo round and round. “Thanks, Dad,” I looked up into his smiling face. “That’s okay,” he replied, “I never mind helping.”
Our heavenly Father doesn’t mind helping either. Sometimes we insist that we can do things by ourselves. We don’t need God’s help or anybody else’s help either. We think we can lay the tracks of our plans all by ourselves. When we take on that attitude, we’re very likely to be foiled in our own attempts. Remember, Father is smiling upon us; He is waiting for us to let Him help. His help is always better than our best efforts, just as it says in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”