Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Lately, my kids have gotten into the habit of saying “I love you” when I say “Yes” to a request. It’s a sweet reaction to have, but something about it hasn’t sat right with me.
After thinking about it more, I realized it makes me feel as if their love is conditional. They only seem to say “I love you” when I give them what they want. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them once say it when I say “No.” I decided I needed to tell my kids the message I thought they were sending.
Of course they denied it, saying they love me no matter what. As they were claiming there were no strings attached to their love, it occurred to me I had some soul searching to do of my own.
Things seem to be going well for me lately in regards to my writing career. I give all that credit to God, and have been thanking Him and praising Him accordingly.
Now, in light of this situation with my kids, I’m realizing I certainly wasn’t as vocal with my love and gratitude when I was bumping up against road blocks.
I know it’s human nature to be grateful when things are good, and not when they aren’t. But faith is supposed to follow a whole different set of guidelines. We’re supposed to trust that whatever is transpiring in our lives, be it good or bad, is for our ultimate good, and for His glory. We’re supposed to embrace all aspects of the journey with open and grateful hearts in order to be led where He wants us to go.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not there yet. I still struggle in the midst of any and all struggles. I still endlessly lament from the depths of the valleys. I have a long way to go in my faith to be a grown-up in all the ways He’s trying to grow me.
But as a mom, I can see the big picture more clearly now. When I say “No” to my kids, I’m doing so because I know what’s in their best interest. Sometimes I need to play the Bad Guy in order to lead them to the good life. My kids need to trust that, and trust me.
Things are no different with God. The next time He says “No” to one of my prayerful requests, I need to still say “Thank you; I love you,” trusting that His “No” is for my own good.
Questions for Reflection:
* Do my kids send the message that their love is conditional on me saying “yes?”
* Do I send the same message to God?