My baby turns 10 months old today. He has been walking, unsteadily, for about a week. He was taking 2 or 3 steps for a couple of weeks before that. Last Tuesday evening, I saw a change in his thinking. He *chose* to walk across a small space where the day before he would have crawled. I announced to DH that he was now officially walking. And, of course, even though we’ve watched his two older siblings go through the same sequence of development, even though all babies do it, we were still proud and delighted. We grinned at him and each other as if he’d aced his final rocket surgery exam, instead of something every healthy child masters within their first eighteen months.
But as far as I know, the next day he didn’t walk a single step. He crawled everywhere. Was I disappointed? No! Did I love him any less? No, of course not! Did I delight in him as much as ever? Yes, indeed! I rejoice over him because he is my child. I love to watch my children grow and develop, but I’m happy for them to do so in their own time and their own way. Each faltering step pleases me, without by any means implying displeasure at the lack of a step.
In the same way, I believe that God is pleased with each attempt we make to obey him or to honour him – stumbling, fumbling or outright useless as they may be… without suggesting for a moment that he is displeased when we don’t make those attempts, or when we fail. God is love and he loves us outrageously. All. The. Time.