Several weeks ago I ran across a fun questionnaire of sorts on a social media channel. Without any prompting, one was supposed to pose the questions to their child and obtain an unrehearsed, honest answer. If anyone remembers the show, Kids Say the Darndest Things, then you can imagine that this impromptu game has the potential of making you roll over in laughter, all the while attempting to pick your jaw up off the floor due to the bizarre responses. Because I thought the questions were amusing, I couldn’t resist putting my two ladybugs , Sky and Rain, on the hot seat, all for a good laugh.
And a good laugh I did get! Hearing answers to questions such as, If your mom was a character, who would she be? – Wonder Woman, or What does your mom do for a job? – She works shooting videos, really gave me a good chuckle. But in the midst of it all, I should have known that God was going to show me something. Isn’t it like Him never to waste a teachable moment? Question #20 asked: How do you know your mom loves you? My 8 year old, Rain, responded with a twinkle in her eye, –“Because you give me lots of hugs and kisses and you tell me you love me”. Her answer, rooted in complete innocence, melted my heart! Sky’s answer, however, I didn’t expect, -“Because you don’t let me do everything I want to do”. “Genius”, I thought! And then it hit me; my 13 year old daughter understands the concept that took me years to learn.
I can’t tell you the many times I have seen God’s restrictions and denials as less than love. In some instances, I have even seen them as punishment. If He really loved me, He would have helped me work that relationship out. If He really loved me, He would have given me that job promotion. If He really loved me, He would have made that business deal pan out. And the list goes on. When my expectations haven’t been met I have been quick to question God and His motives and sulk.
There is a famous poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning whose title I believe you might be familiar with, How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways. I believe the Lord would sum up the ways He loves us in one phrase:
- In a Personal Manner
A love so specific to each of us that He recognizes our voice from within a crowd of people. A connection so intimate that He is involved in everything we do. An interest on His part to see His purpose in us fulfilled, even if it means saying No at times.
Like Sky, I have now gotten to a place where I recognize that what He withholds from me or what He keeps me from is not because He doesn’t love me but because He does!
What we think we need is not necessarily what God knows we need. Have you ever felt that God hasn’t let you do something you wanted to do?