When the Father Says, “Stay”

One Sunday, I witnessed this moment. It probably took less than thirty seconds. It was probably immediately forgotten by everyone else present. But for some reason, it struck a chord in my heart which has been reverberating for a few weeks. Hearing that chord, I am still not sure what song it will make in my future. But I know that I like the sound, and I hope it keeps echoing in my soul for a while.

I go to Grace City Church which is currently a semi-mobile church. What I mean by that is we have a permanent office space for staff to use during the week and we rent an auditorium space for church each Sunday morning. As part of this process, we have rolling carts that contain all of our equipment (sound system, nursery supplies, communion bowls, church pens, tables, EVERYTHING). So every Sunday we roll the carts off of the church trailers at 7 o’clock in the morning and setup for church. Then after our two services, we do the same thing in reverse to load it back into the church trailers.

(The process looks something like this picture although this is not our church.)


This memorable moment that has been stuck in my soul happened after church while we were packing everything back onto the trailers one Sunday. A churchgoer was about to roll the heaviest cart onto the church trailer. A church leader stepped onto the trailer to push something out of the way and make space for the heaviest cart. This church leader’s son was standing near me. This two-year-old son saw his dad walk away. The toddler was too young and small to read the context and understand why his dad walked away. For a second, the son looked upset like he would cry. He didn’t.

However, at the pivotal moment when the churchgoer with the heaviest cart was getting a rolling start to go into the trailer, the son started toddling straight toward his church leader dad. The dad saw that this would take his son straight into the path of the heaviest cart. The dad held up his hand and said, “No, stay!”

Another churchgoer immediately picked up the son – who was fine. The heaviest cart never got close to the son, and he never even cried. But he looked a little sad, disappointed, and confused to be so abruptly pushed away by his loving father.

That’s it. That’s the whole story. But here’s the echoing chord:

God, my Father, tells me to stay sometimes. He seems to go first like I am supposed to follow Him. Then when I take a toddling step toward Him, it seems like He puts up His hand and says, “No, stay there.” I get sad, disappointed, confused, and cry. I wonder, “Why? Why do I need to stay here right now? I thought I was supposed to follow You, and frankly You don’t seem to be super close to me right now.” God is still within sight and always exuding love, but for some reason at that moment, He tells me to stay.

You see, I am just like the church leader’s son. (You have probably already figured this out.) I can’t see the reason why God told me to stay where I am. I don’t understand why He seems to be a little bit ahead of me. I can’t see whatever the spiritual “heaviest cart” is that would smash my spiritually small body onto the ground.


As a follower of God, I have to be just that: a follower. I have to trust God’s direction. I have to truly believe that He sees all things, knows all things, and coordinates all things. I know these things to be true in my mind. I have read the evidence of God’s perfection in the Bible. I have heard the miraculous stories of God working in our present time. I have lived answered prayers, and I have seen the presence of God in my own life. However, my soul still reverts to questioning. “Why did God tell me to stay? Why is He doing this now? Will I ever have the right timing? Will I ever know why it had to happen this way?”

When I finally figure out how to truly trust God without questioning Him, I’ll let you know. It may not be until I am seventy-seven. But until then, I’m just going to trust that God will keep humming the same chord in my soul: trust Me; believe Me; follow Me.

I like the sound of that song. I can bask in the warmth of it some days. Other days the light of it seems overshadowed by questions, and I just have to trust that the sun is still there. Even when I don’t see it shine, the sun is here. Even when I don’t see Him next to me, God is still here. I am still here. When my eyes are on my Father, everything is where it should be even if He seems to be out of reach. If God tells me to stay, then I am exactly where He wants me.

Maybe you are a little hasty and impatient like me. Maybe you are trying to adjust to God’s command to stay or wait or be still. If that’s you, just take a breath. Look in His eyes. Remember that He is THE Loving Father. He only wants what is best for you. Even if the best for you is waiting or heartache or challenging uphill climbs, remember to listen for His direction. Listen for the chord that He hums in our soul: trust Me; believe Me; follow Me.


2 thoughts on “When the Father Says, “Stay”

  1. Beautifully expressed! Tent pegs are pulled, relationships have altered, a new season is in process, yet still I/we “stay”. Thankful that God tells us to go, and trying to be obedient when He says, “Not yet”.


  2. Pingback: Continuations… | Tender Tugs

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