It's hard when you want something that you can't have. It's hard when you can't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to have the thing you want. When you're 2 and you see the milk carton out on the counter, you just expect that you should be able to have a cup of chocolate milk. When you're 2 you don't understand that if the milk smells funny you shouldn't drink it or you will end up with a tummy ache. When you're 2 and what you really wanted was chocolate milk, juice just doesn't seem like much of a consolation. Being 2 you can be hard headed and demanding, you can throw you're weight around or on the floor, to try to get what you want. Being 2 is hard... you don't really understand what your older brother means when he says, "Mom, the milk tastes funny." You just want what you want and to heck with the consequences.
The sad thing is that I can totally relate to my 2 yr old. When I get my heart and mind fixed on what I want it, I just want it. I don't think about anything other than that thing I want. I quickly lose my resolve to trust God's plan for my life when what I want and what God knows is best for me collide. When I ask and the answer is no, I quickly get angry and pout and cry and whine. What if in that moment God were to hand me that thing I wanted? What if he just got fed up with me and handed me a cup of spilled milk?!
Sometimes, in our weakness as parents, when we can't take the whining anymore, we give in to their demands, when we know that was not what was best for them. There are lots of times I have to say no as a mom. I really believe children are hardwired to ask questions just to hear the word no... like can I have a cookie for breakfast? Why, no you can't. Can I watch TV for 6 hours today? Why, no you can not. Can I play in the toilet? Why, no you can't. Sometimes, I get so tired of this little game that I give in and say, "WHATEVER.... DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO, just leave me alone." I know that's not right. I know I should always do what is best for my kids, but there are times when those little loves NEED to understand what happens when they get what they want.
I remember one time when my little guy would not leave the rake alone. I knew it was too heavy and that he needed to leave it alone and I had told him that multiple times, but he insisted on picking up that rake for the 50th time and dropping it right on his foot. There are a number of lessons I can learn from this situation... I can remove everything that I don't want him to touch, but when will he learn to listen? What happens if he never learns to listen to my voice? One day something far worse could happen to him. I could have popped his little bottom for not listening, but eventually his not listening brought it's own consequence, and that day he learned for what will be 1 of millions of times, that mommy knows best.
I have a confession... I have always been perplexed when I think about that tree in the middle of the garden. You know the one God told Adam not to touch or eat. I always thought, well that's kind of cruel Lord... Why would you put that tree right in the middle of the garden and then tell them they can't have it. Why wouldn't you hide that tree or put it somewhere else, then all would be well with the world. That tree was so tempting with a name like "Tree of Knowledge... of good and evil." Who wouldn't want all that knowledge? I remember my Mother in-law pointing out to me one time that Adam and Eve already knew all that was good. They had every good thing they would ever need right there in that garden and the ultimate good was God's presence. On that fateful day all the knowledge they really learned was evil. How devastating to get what you wanted only to realize you got a mouth full of spoiled milk. Shame, separation, brokenness, confusion were just the some of the evil things they learned about that day. I feel certain they thought back to that day when they found out that their youngest son was slain by their oldest son.... that's an evil no parent would want to learn.
The other day I was watching my oldest walk upstairs with her Kindle to read in the quiet of her room and I thought about the garden and that tree. The Internet is a lot like that tree... full of good and full of evil. My heart skips a beat each time one of my children gets on the phone, computer or Kindle, because I know at the touch of a button they can be transported into a world of evil they could never imagine. I hope and I pray they will listen to my warnings about the danger and never venture past the safety zones that we have set up, but I know that there is good on there that I do what them to experience, so I warn them, but they have to make the choice to listen and trust that I know what's best for them.
As a parent, I want what is absolutely best for my children. I would never withhold good from them if it was in my power to do that. As an adult, I know so much more than they do. I can't tell them all the horrible things I know that could happen to them if they don't listen. Just hearing some of the things that happen in this world would be enough to strip them of the their innocence and bring into their world evil they are not able to comprehend. As a parent, I know that even if they don't understand there are many times I have to say no to them, based on the information that I know that they do not.
As my Father, God, knows what is best for me. He knows when something is not in my best interest. I need to understand and trust that God knows more than I do. He knows all the variables. When he says no to me or gives me a warning about something, it is prideful for me to think that I know better than he does. It's prideful for me to play God in my life and it's childish for me to demand my own way.
Proverbs 30:8-9 says "Keep deception and lies far away from me; give me neither poverty nor wealth. Feed me with the food I need today. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, Who is the Lord?" Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
The writer of Proverbs was smart enough to know that He didn't know his own heart and he didn't know what he needed. He knew enough to know that he needed to trust God to give him exactly what God knew was best for him. I want to get to that place, that I know that God is my Father, He is GOOD and He knows what is best for me. When my wants collide with God's will for my life, may I say with my Savior, "Not my will, but thine be done."
If I'm too immature to submit willingly I pray that the Lord will never hand me that spoiled milk I'm throwing a fit for.