“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13)
My daughter is sick. She’s been with a bug called the Coxsackie virus for almost 5 days now which causes super painful throat blisters and makes it extremely difficult for her to eat. Her fever has gone down but the stinging feeling whenever she swallows remains, and so swallowing hard foods or even really soft porridge, causes her a great discomfort. She’s been really cranky lately, whining and whimpering, and I don’t blame her because as a mom I definitely don’t want to see her down and in pain like this. And knowing what she is going through, I need to carefully decide on what she should and shouldn’t eat because choosing the wrong kind of food may aggravate the pain in her throat and just lengthen the agony even more. Which is why it is with great sadness that I have to say no to her even when she begs and pleads for chocolates, donuts and sweets that she enjoys. As an adult and a parent, I know already that giving in to her cries would benefit short term, but there will be great consequences in the long run. Because of experiences, as parents we already have the wisdom to know ahead of time what will be good and bad for our children and so we prevent ourselves from giving into what they sk for especially when we know that it will cause more harm to them than good.
This got me thinking about how God is with me. As our heavenly parent, God, Our Father, sees everything — our past, present and future. He is omniscient. He sees even far beyond what we think we know about our children’s future. And why not, when He created us and knew us even before we were born! “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). And this explains too why so many times I pray and don’t get what I ask for. Several times I complain to God, whining and whimpering like a child, crying out for what I want but instead I get a “no” in response. In these instances I see myself just like my daughter. I don’t understand why God won’t just give me my request when at the moment I see no harm in Him doing so. But my limited view sees only my current needs, while God, my parent, sees the consequence of me getting what I ask for especially when He knows it could only bring me harm. And just like us earthly parents, He says no not because he wants to punish us or to be mean, but simply because he loves us and he doesn’t want us to get hurt or experience pain. As parents ourselves we ask our children to trust us to know what is good for them so we try to explain to them that our wisdom as adults is what they have to hold on to. Think about all the times when we questioned God’s decision to hold off on giving us what we ask for because he sees something we can’t, and yet we don’t trust Him enough to know better!
So the next time we are tempted to harbor feelings of disappointment with God when our prayer requests receive a clear “no” or “not yet”, try to remember the moments when we say no to our child’s request for that bar of chocolate in the midst of a sore throat, or when our teen asks for the car keys in the middle of the night to visit a friend. Trust in His parenting skills — believe that He is a better parent than we can ever be! And know that He loves us and He sees our today as well as our tomorrow, and when the right time comes, His no may just turn into a yes!