Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your kind spirit guide me on ground that is level. Psalm 143:10
I was standing in the checkout line in the grocery store the other day behind a mom and her 5-year-old son. As the mother of grown children it was very easy for me to giggle at the conversation I was hearing because I have so “been there, done that” but I could really sympathize with the mom. The young man was a negotiator whose favorite phrase was “But Mom!” If I had a dollar for each time that little boy said those words I could have paid for half my groceries! I was very impressed with the mother’s patience and creativity. The little boy wanted, no, NEEDED a variety of important things that afternoon like gum, a truck, tic-tacs, a dart gun and of course, basketball shoes. He carefully outlined all the reasons his needs were valid and each time mom would counter with logic he would say, “But Mom,” and then go on with three or four ideas to counter the wisdom of his mother. As I stood there laughing to myself I wondered if that’s how we sound with God.
The truth of the matter is I think we do argue with God much like that little boy argued with his mom. We try to come up with all kinds of rationale to convince him that our way is right and that there are really things we need. Here is how I see the conversation going down most days…
But God…I want to win the lottery; I’d use the money for lots of good things. -- No, child…I’ve given you enough.
But God…I should have gotten that; I’ve worked really hard. -- No, child…that belonged to one of my other children; be patient, I have amazing things in store for you.
But God…I’m too busy to sit still and pray for 30 minutes. I’ve got so many things to do. I mean, after all, I am using the gifts and talents you gave me; isn’t that good enough? -- No, child…I want you to put me first and give me the first minutes of your day so I can show you what I have planned, and believe me, it will be more productive and enjoyable and blessed than anything you could put on your to-do list.
But God…I pray all the time, in the car, in the shower, in traffic, don’t you think that’s enough? -- No, child… I want your full attention so I can speak to you in the silence and watch your heat become more connected to mine.
But God…can’t you take away this suffering? It’s just too hard; I thought you loved me! -- No, child…you are mistaken; suffering doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It means I’m strengthening you and refining you and you simply need to trust me more so I can lead you through this and by the way it will bring you so much closer to me than you were before.
But God…you need to stop making life so hard for me. I try to live a good life but I just keep seeing one disappointment after another while others get everything handed to them and have things so easy. -- No, child…each of my children has a different path to heaven. Stop comparing and know everything is perfectly designed to strengthen, purify and refine you so you can follow your own path to me. Besides, sweet child, you can only see with your eyes what’s on the surface; you have no idea what someone else’s path is like. Only I know that.
But God…don’t you see what they’re doing? It’s not fair that I follow the rules while other people do whatever they want and good things keep happening to them; maybe I should stop worrying so much about doing everything right and just live however I want! -- No, child…If you love me you will follow my commands and please don’t judge others. That’s my job and it’s only making your heart dark and snatching away the joy I want you to share.
But God…I want peace, mercy, kindness and goodness in this world! -- Good my child…then love me, trust me, and pray for those things every day and let me take it from there. You need to slow down, share my love and let the joy that comes from our friendship spill out everywhere…that’s how you get everything you want. Now just be quiet, child, and let me take perfect care of you; I’ve been doing this job since the beginning of time and I’m pretty good at it!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of all the things you argue with God about and let him speak to them in the quiet of your prayer time. He’s a pretty skilled negotiator!
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2016 Sheri Wohlfert
About the Author
Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to look at the simple ways we can all find God doing amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.