I watched his face change as she pulled his little brothers gift out of the bag. He had already received his, a super cool Avenger t-shirt, that up until that moment was the best gift. He's just now getting into super heroes and Granny had picked out just the right t-shirt for him. He had a big smile on his face, until she pulled out the Super Man t-shirt with a cape attached and handed it to his baby brother. From that moment on his gift wasn't good enough. Even though he's not a big fan of Super Man, he loves capes and ties small blankets around his neck, and flies around the house saving lives everyday. All the sudden all he could think about was that his little brother got what he wanted. I watched him admire that cape for the rest of the day, I watched him sulk, and poke fun at his little brother and I knew I had to sit down and talk with him. We talked it out and I told him I understand how he feels. It stinks when other people get what we want. We talked about how Granny picked out his t-shirt, just for him, with Avengers, because that what she thought he liked. No matter what I said though, he just couldn't get over wanting that t-shirt with a cape. It's hard to be 5. It's hard to be 37. It's hard to sit by and watch other people get what you wanted.
Maybe you know the feeling?! Maybe you are single and want to be married. Maybe you are married and want a baby. Maybe you've suffered a miscarriage and had to watch as friends bring home new babies. It's hard to see someone else get the very thing you have been wanting.
Sometimes it's stuff like cars, homes, clothes. Sometimes it's how someone looks or the friends they have. Somehow no matter how great our life is, we get jealous and discontent, when we notice someone else who has it better. T.V., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintirest have made things even worse, because we can be plugged in 24/7, and imagine how everyone out there has it just a little better than we do.
Tonight I was reading about someone who could really understand this feeling. In 1 Samuel 1, the Bible tells us the story of Hannah. Hannah was married to a man who loved her dearly, but had married another woman, because Hannah was barren (vs6 ...but the Lord had shut her womb.) Hannah did not have a child, but her husbands other wife did have children (vs4 ...all her sons and daughters). Hannah was jealous, but to make matters worse the bible says her adversary (the other wife) would provoke her severely, and make her miserable, because the Lord had shut her womb. She was so upset that she wept and would not eat.
"Then Elkanah her husband said to her, Hannah, why are you weeping? and why are you not eating? and why is your hear grieved? am I not better than 10 sons?" vs 8
Elkanah asked the question that we all ask ourselves when we are upset about what the other person has... WHY isn't what I already have enough? Isn't that the truth. We have good lives (most of us). We have lives full of good things that make us happy, but sometimes there's just that one thing we can't stop thinking about. We can allow that one thing to steal our joy.
If we focus on that one thing we can grow completely discontent with our really good lives. How do we keep that one thing from consuming our thoughts and stealing our joy?
Hannah did what we all need to do. She went to the temple of the Lord and she prayed her heart out. She prayed so fervently that Eli the Priest thought she had been drinking, but Hannah assured him she had not, but that "out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken here." Then Eli said "Go in Peace and may the Lord give you what you ask for." (my paraphrase).
After Hannah had taken her petition to the Lord she went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
She took her grief to the Lord and she went away better. Psalms 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart."
Sometimes what we want so badly is a good thing and God wants to give it to us. James says "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes from the Father of lights..." God loves to give good gifts, but sometimes he waits. Sometimes he's teaching us patience or he's teaching us about answered prayers and increasing our faith. There is no end to the things that God desires to teach us and why he makes us wait, but we can trust His heart. We can trust his goodness. We can rest in His love. We can know that God would never withhold something from us that we needed.
Did you notice how Hannah walked away feeling better after she prayed? She didn't have the answer she just knew she had taken it to God and it was in his hands. God blessed Hannah abundantly... she had 4 sons and 2 daughters. Isn't that amazing.
"Now unto him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works with in us." Ephesians 3:20
I'm not sure when Andrew told Granny that he really liked, the Super Man t-shirt with the cape, better than he liked the one that he got, but she mentioned that she was going to look for one for him, because he really liked that one. All I know is that after talking about what had him upset his attitude changed and he went away to play no longer sad. He told Granny what he wanted and I'm sure it won't be long before he has that Super Man t-shirt with a cape.
I'm not sure what it is that you want, but have you taken your complaint to the Lord and prayed your heart out? No matter what the answer is, it always feels better after I've had a talk with my Father!