Little Red Wagon

wagon-panoramaA wise friend shared a story with me years ago that really stuck. I’m sure you’ve experienced that too. For one reason or another you just relate to it and it resurfaces often.  I can’t take credit for this story…but I’m going to tell it like its mine. Just so we are clear…it’s not. So if you know where it came from, I’d love to meet the original teller.

Once there was a little boy who owned a little red wagon. This little wagon was his most loved and prized possession. He played joyfully with it, pulling it around from morning until night. You never ever saw him without this little red wagon in tow.  The little red wagon carried special toys, dolls, a picnic for the backyard, pails and shovels for the beach, mud, rocks, animals…snips and snails and puppy dog tails, all the things little boys are made of. He loved it, in a way that you’ve seen before in your children, and in a way that you probably love your favorite possession.

Little boys are tough on toys and eventually the little red wagon broke. The little boy cried and cried and cried. He was so, so distraught. His mom consoled him and assured him Daddy could fix the little red wagon. “Put it on the workbench in the garage, Son. Daddy can fix it.” He obeyed.

Little boy days feel like years, so what was probably 20 minutes later, the little boy started to ask, “Daddy, did you fix the red wagon yet?”

“No son, not yet. I promise I will.”

The little boy just couldn’t wait, he grabbed the little red wagon off the workbench and played with it all day. Even though it was still broken and it didn’t work quite right, he pushed through. Daddy came searching for the wagon, the little boy had it in the backyard, sitting still and covered in mud.

“Son, I tried to fix your wagon, but it wasn’t on the workbench. Wash it off and put it back, and I’ll fix it tomorrow.” The little boy obeyed.

The next morning the little boy woke and ran to the garage, the little red wagon was still on the work bench, broken. He was so, so sad. He took the little red wagon off the shelf and carried it around all day, still broken. Mommy found the little boy in his room, the wagon stuck on the floor covered in toys and blankets.

“Son, Daddy wanted to fix your wagon, but he couldn’t find it. Go and put it back on the work bench, and he can fix it tomorrow.” The little boy obeyed.

This continued on and on and on for days. The little boy just couldn’t leave the little red wagon on the workbench so that Daddy could fix it. He wanted it so very much that he just took it back and tried to play with it as is, instead of waiting for Daddy to restore it good as new.

Ouch, right?

I don’t have a literal “little red wagon” but I sure have some figurative ones. How many “little red wagons” are you afraid to leave on the shelf so that your Father can fix it – restore it good as new?

Today I read a line from Priscilla Shirer’s study – Discerning the Voice of God. She said, “When we refuse to follow God’s directions, it’s usually because we’re convinced that whatever He’s asking us to give up is greater than what we’ll gain.”


Anyone else squinting and squirming as you read this? Yep, me too. As we move into the season of Lent, I’m trying to clear my mind and prepare for sacrifice. I’m starting by leaving that “little red wagon on the workbench” so my Heavenly Father can fix it. Wanna join me? There’s plenty of room. I’m sure it’s like Santa’s toy shop up in there, I’m sure of it. But better because, you know, God.


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