The Prize

I am so blessed to spend four days each week with my two grandsons. The six-year old is in kindergarten until noon so I have alone time each morning with his little brother, who will celebrate his first birthday next month.

The other day my youngest grandson was playing near his toy box with some of his favorite toys spread out around him. His little rocking horse and a few other larger toys were next to the toy box.

Suddenly he saw it – his favorite ball. It had somehow been pushed out of the toy box and was stuck between the rocking horse, the toy box, and the wall. His initial attempts to get his ball were unsuccessful and he plopped down on his little bottom in frustration.

I was torn. I knew what he wanted and was tempted to get the ball for him. I also wanted him to think and learn and grow and succeed – so I watched and waited.

His desire was strong and soon he was back at it again. He pushed and pulled and twisted and turned. As he maneuvered his little body one way and then another, his favorite ball just seemed to wedge itself more tightly into its inaccessible position.

Soon it was time for another break. He sat down and simply stared at the ball. I sensed he was trying to figure out a way to reach his goal. Suddenly he stood up, moved to the far side of the rocking horse, and pulled that little horse away from the toy box and the wall.

A huge smile lit up his face as he realized he had figured out how to get to his favorite ball. I watched him pick up the ball and toddle away with the prized possession clutched tightly in his little hands. He was still beaming with the joy of success and his sense of accomplishment was the real prize.

I was so glad I had not intervened and stolen his joy. Perhaps God sometimes watches and waits as we think and learn and grow and succeed. He may allow us to figure out how to reach a goal without “doing it” for us every time. What if the God-given ability to think and to work are the answer to some of our prayers?

The Bible tells us to run the race with perseverance; to press on toward the goal, striving for the prize, and fighting the good fight as we keep our eyes on Jesus. We are to fight discouragement and battle against the desire to give up when things are difficult.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3 :14 (NIV)

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. ~ Hebrews 12:1b-3 (NIV)


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