A Lesson in Parenting from Our Heavenly Father

I don’t know how many times a day Hannah and Ephraim beg for food.  They will get finished with breakfast and ask me what they can have for snack (okay, this is more Hannah than Ephraim, but he is always fussing for something, too!).  I usually stand pretty firm on not giving them too many “treats,” but Saturday was an unusual day for Jamie to be off.  And we were out having fun.

It started innocently enough with just a late fast-food lunch at Burger King (we had coupons).  Then we headed to the mall, where they were giving away free pretzels – the big ones.  Then we went into a store that was having a spring sale and giving out icing-covered cookies to the kids.  And it was free ice cream day at Bruster’s if you wore your pajamas (we have no shame when it comes to free food!).

Needless to say, we had one little girl with quite a tummy ache!  Ephraim was spared because he only gets little bites here and there from our treats.  But I immediately felt guilty for giving in to her wants while we were out having fun.  Jamie and I could have steered clear of those places, but we had just come from a long week of strep and colds at our house and really needed to be out among people again!

This episode with Hannah made me realize that I need to stand firm when she wants too many treats.  I could easily have spared her the tummy ache if I had just told her “no”!  I know what’s best for her, and I should have acted more responsibly!

It also got me thinking about how amazing God is.  He always does what is best for His children!  He always takes my requests and answers them according to what will be the most beneficial for me!

This is so hard to remember.  Recently, Jamie and I were praying for a very specific situation and hoping for a positive outcome in our favor.  Instead, the situation took a totally different turn, and we have been left feeling bewildered, hurt, and anxious.  But Jamie and I took a step back to reevaluate the circumstances and decided to go to Scripture.

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!” – Phil. 4:4

Rejoice?  How can we rejoice when things aren’t going how we planned?  How can we rejoice when it seems as though evil is winning?  How can we rejoice in this circumstance?  But the verse is very clear – rejoice always!  So we started to look for ways in which we could rejoice even though we felt like God had not answered our prayers.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him” – I John 5:14-15

The truth is that our heavenly Father always answers our prayers – even if the answer is “no.”  Sometimes it’s hard to remember that.  Sometimes it’s hard to feel His presence.  Sometimes it’s easy to think we’re alone in our trials.

But He hasn’t abandoned us.  He just has something better in mind.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  13 When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.  17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (Jms. 1:12-13, 17).

It’s a lot easier to find joy when we can see our loving Father’s hand.  He wants the best for us, and He has the whole plan in His view.  In fact, He has some pretty good things awaiting for us in heaven!  We are stuck in the here and now and just can’t see the consequences our requests will bring to us.

I’m so glad He’s a better parent than I am!  I don’t want to suffer through life with a “tummy ache”!


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