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Myers: Object permanence serves as God’s gift to parents, too

POSTED: March 20, 2008 5:00 a.m.

In my last article, I wrote about "object permanence." This is the understanding that even though you can’t see something, you know it still exists. If Chloe has or wants something we don’t think she should have, we remove it from her sight and she forgets about it.

Usually.

Even though Chloe hasn’t developed object permanence yet, she still gets upset when we take something from her. She may not know it still exists, but she sure knows it’s missing.

Today she grabbed a picture frame. Amy lunged for it like an action movie hero diving for the kill switch on a nuclear device.

A struggle ensued. Amy won. Chloe cried.

From across the room I yelled above the wailing: "Give her something else!"

If her current career choice as a teacher doesn’t pan out, Amy can read lips for the CIA. I’m sure she couldn’t hear me, but she knew exactly what I was saying. Granted, she might have figured it out on her own. One of those "common sense" things I keep hearing so much about.

Amy grabbed a toy and waved it in front of Chloe’s face. Miraculously, Chloe stopped crying. She took the toy and grinned, satisfied that she had something else to occupy her. I was amazed at how quickly her attention turned from one thing to the other. Just a little bit of redirection, and the picture frame was all but forgotten.

We adults are not so different. Take King David as an example. He was one of Israel’s greatest leaders. The Bible says he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Yet he allowed himself to get sidetracked when Satan waved a distraction named Bathsheba in front of his face.

In no time at all, he had committed adultery, sought to cover it up and orchestrated a long-distance murder when he couldn’t.

Several results came from David’s actions. First, God confronted his sin through the prophet Nathan. Second, the child born of David’s and Bathsheba’s union died. Third, God promised that the sword would never leave David’s household.

For the rest of his days David had trouble not only from enemies outside his kingdom, but also from enemies within his own family.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that God forgave David. Even so, there were some very real consequences to David’s actions. Had he kept his eyes on God, had he not fallen for Satan’s misdirection, he could have saved himself, his family and his kingdom a lot of trouble.

Satan is constantly waving all sorts of temptations in our faces. Some of them are similar to David’s, while others are vastly different. Whatever the temptation, you can rest assured Satan has only one objective in mind: to draw our attention from our heavenly father and redirect it to something — anything — else.

So what should we do? When Satan waves temptation in our faces, our response should be twofold. First, we should fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2). Second, we should refuse to even glance at Satan’s temptations. As long as we stay focused on our heavenly father, we’ll never go astray

Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville.



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