“Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10: 7-10
Have you ever tried to contain something that is not containable? Surprisingly, maybe not so, I had a child that did not yield to a restraint or containment of any kind. He was like a little Houdini. Before he could walk he would climb out of his crib, high chair, over the baby gate and out of his car seat. If it was meant to restrain or contain him. Forget it. Not happening. No way. No how.
I think his first stunt was crawling out of the bed. We didn’t know he could get out and during the night, to our surprise, he showed up in our room trying to get in bed with us. The next day, we lowered his mattress as far down as possible. It worked, for a few days.
We didn’t have a nanny cam so I decided to watch him one afternoon to see how the little rascal was getting out. Clever little boy. He would use his changing table to pull himself over the bed railing. Once atop the changing table he would climb down the table by using his toes in the hardware of the drawers. Keep in mind. He was not walking, at this time and he was upstairs. Good news was he couldn’t reach the door knob so at least we could keep the door closed to avoid an accidental fall down the stairs.
His next escaping adventure was with security gates. Somehow the little stinker could just, with upper body strength pull himself over and unfortunately sometimes the gates themselves would fall. We decided to invest in two pricy thick security gates. Again, our efforts proved to be in vain. The gates worked for a few weeks. He couldn’t pull himself over these. They were a little higher and much sturdier than the previous ones. However, these heavy duty thick plastic gates were made to look like a lattice fence. Alex, figured out he could, again, use his toes, connect them between the open spaces and climb right over. All this before he could walk.
After he learned to walk, he was much more difficult to contain. He climbed on everything and had no fear of anything. He frequently dug himself out of the high chair while being strapped in. No clue how he managed to get out of the restraint. But he did.
Then one day, we were headed to Concord to visit my sister and her family. We heard a little rustling from the back seat and I turned to find Alex completely out of his car seat and sitting in the seat between his carseat and Amy’s. We stopped put him back in and harnessed him well, or so we thought. A few minutes later Matthew from the rear seat is laughing saying, “Mom, he’s out again.” I looked back just in time to see him crawling out of his carseat and looking very proud of himself. Needless to say, the next few days we researched car seats and found one that was supposed to have a better restraining system. As always, it worked for a little while but he somehow managed to slip his arms up through the restraints, no matter how tight or high the restraint was. He knew if he could get his arms out he could wriggle the rest of his body out.
The good news was over time, he finally learned it was for his safety but honestly there was no containing that little booger when he was little.
When I think about how active and daring and challenging and scary, at times, it was raising him as youngster, I stand amazed how self-controlled and cautious and wise he is today. He didn’t initially realize that the restraints and containment were for his protection and safety. When he did realize they were meant for his protection, it had to be his choice to adhere to them, not mine. He chose well.
Just like us. We sometimes feel restrained or contained by following Jesus. We fail to see the benefit so we buck the restraint. We decide to crawl over the fence. When we do this we are left unprotected and that’s a scary place to be. Jesus doesn’t want to hem us in to harm us but to keep us from danger. To keep us safe. Until we get to the point, like Alex, to see that it’s up to us to choose the safety and security that Jesus provides, we will continue to escape the protection every time.