Since I live in Texas and my daughter’s family lives in Virginia (for now!) she sends me many photos and videos of my two grandchildren. They’re adorable and I get to see how they’re growing and changing so fast. Recently Erin sent me a video of twenty-month-old Carson refusing to do the hokey pokey. His response each time she asks him if he wanted to do it is an emphatic, tantrum-quality “No!” Even though at one point, his little legs move and you know he really wants to do it. In another video, she asks him if he’s a baby, and he says, “ummm, no.” She asks him if he’s a big boy, and he says, “ummm, no.” In a third video, she asks him what he wants for breakfast and he says “cookie.” She says, “You want a cookie?” He says, “no.”
Spot a trend here? “No” is a favorite word for toddlers. It’s one of the first words they learn. In a world where someone else decides when and what they eat, when they sleep, what they wear, and where they go, small children seem to know and want to grab on to some tiny piece of autonomy. They want a say in their lives. Even when they’re two.
As parents we get frustrated with our children’s penchant for the word “no,” even as we pepper them with it every day. As I often tell my daughter, children mimic their parents. What they hear, is what they say. However, most of the time parents tell children no because it’s not in their best interest to do or have whatever it is they want. At least I hope that’s the case. We’re only human so sometimes we say no because the request is inconvenient, we’re tired, or it’s not something we like to do. Children can’t understand that. They want what they want and they want it now.
God must see that in us a great deal. We pray to Him for all our hopes, desires, our wants and our needs. As we should. Scripture tells us to prayer continuously and to pray about everything. But sometimes we don’t get what we want. God says not now or simply no. Sometimes, he has another plan for us—one we don’t like. When that happens to me, I dig my heels in and say, no. Not only no, but an emphatic, tantrum-quality No!
God must feel as if he’s dealing with a two-year-old (only speaking for myself, of course). It is so hard to wait upon the Lord. To be still and know He is God. That He has plans to prosper and not harm us. So I’ve been revisiting poor Job. Everything that happened to him, and not once did he throw a fit, shake his fist at the sky, and bellow, no! How tempting it must have been. But he held steadfast in his belief that God was still there. Always there.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
In all of this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
“His wife said to him, ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’”
He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. He hung on through it all. That’s what we have to do. Pray and then let God have His way with us. Leave our childish ways behind. Take God’s hand and walk the road with the confidence that He knows when to say yes and when to say no.
“In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
As always I love to hear from my readers. Any particular challenges you’d like to share and pray about? Let me know!