In the best adventures there is a delicate dance of freedom and providence. But often we are tempted to see God like a father dancing with a daughter whose feet can’t touch the ground. The little girl is swept up by God and need do nothing as he swings her across the ballroom. Certainly this kind of dancing is comforting. Nothing depends on us—and that’s a relief. God’s control is complete. There is no danger of us stepping on toes or missing a beat.
But maybe we are called to be more like a bride dancing with her bridegroom. Even though she follows his lead, her feet must touch the ground and she must move to the music. She may miss a few steps and smash a few toes, but unlike the little girl, the bride gazes into the eyes of the bridegroom. Instead of the dance being a picture of the father’s sovereignty as he swings his daughter through the air, we see a picture of a relationship: mutual love, willing obedience, and even shared suffering. The longer they dance together, the more they move as one.
There are probably times when God sovereignly lifts and carries us, but the flow of Scripture suggests the centrality of relationship. Sloth, and perhaps some bad theology, can make us want to stay the passive little girl forever. God’s desires our growth. We are called to move with Christ to the music of the Holy Spirit as we obey, pray, and lose ourselves in the Bridegroom’s love. The world is our ballroom and together our dance manifests the beauty and love of God. Daddy’s little girl is all grown-up.