“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
These days I find myself wading through the unfamiliar waters affectionately referred to as the teenage years. My oldest, and most compliant child, is slowly but surely showing signs of mild rebellion, unkindness and attitude. He has always been my easiest child wanting to be pleasing to me. For the most part, he has only required one warning and immediately changed his actions. He has been a joy to parent, and these days, I find myself at a loss, not knowing what to do on many occasions. There’s a fine line here where I want to give him what he asks for but it simply doesn’t work out that way. So, sometimes I have to say “no” to his request. In the past, he has been very receptive regardless of my answer, but these days I’m never sure what kind of reaction I will get. And most of all, I never want him to feel unloved because he is not given what he has asked for.
Much to my dismay, I had to tell my teen “no” yesterday. He wanted to go to his friend’s youth group but I just couldn’t make it work for him yesterday. It’s not that I didn’t want him to go, but he had another obligation at our church that evening with his Dad. He would have had to leave youth group early, causing his Dad to go out of his way to pick him up in order to make the other meeting on time. So, I had to explain to him that it just wasn’t going to work out this week and that I was sorry. I was surprised and delighted when he had an accepting response. He said it was okay because there was a new episode of a cartoon he wanted to watch anyway. I was stunned and so grateful because he willingly, without argument accepted my response. He didn’t offer solutions or alternative ideas in order to get what he wanted; he just accepted it and went on his way. I was thrilled.
As I stood at the stove cooking dinner last night it hit me that my son’s response was encouraging to me. I felt like he respected my decision and was willing to go without. He didn’t question me or suggest that I had an ulterior motive. He trusted my choice and moved on. Then I thought about how God must feel when I accept His answer to me. I thought about the times I have whined and complained because God wasn’t working fast enough in a situation. I questioned His choice in a matter instead of accepting His sovereign will. There are times I have felt unloved because God told me “no”.
When I think about it, I am not much different from my teen. My reaction is somewhat unpredictable also. Every once in a while I am at peace with the choice God has made for me. But all too often, I struggle. I spend countless prayers trying to convince God that He has made the wrong decision instead of asking what my next step should be. Then I complain that God is too slow when in fact, I’m slowing the process down with my inability to accept His will. If this scripture is true, then I must believe that God has my best interest at heart. He knows what I need and when I need it. He desires to give me good gifts. And if He chooses to say “no” it’s because the Father knows best!