Out of parental concern and a desire to teach our young son responsibility, we require him to phone home when he arrives at his friend's house a few blocks away. He began to forget, however, as he grew more confident in his ability to get there without disaster befalling him. The first time he forgot, I called to be sure he had arrived. We told him the next time it happened, he would have to come home. A few days later, however, the telephone again lay silent, and I knew if he was going to learn, he would have to be punished. BUT I DID NOT WANT TO PUNISH HIM! I went to the telephone, regretting that his great time would be spoiled by his lack of contact with his father. As I dialed, I prayed for wisdom. "Treat him like I treat you," the Lord seemed to say. With that, as the telephone rang one time, I hung up. A few seconds later the phone rang, and it was my son.
"I'm here, Dad!"
"What took you so long to call?" I asked.
"We started playing and I forgot. But Dad, I heard the phone ring once and I remembered."
How often do we think of God as One who waits to punish us when we step out of line? I wonder how often he rings just once, hoping we will phone home.