"You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones is sung quite frequently in our home. Primarily by my husband, but I find myself joining in on occasion. Our two boys, Davis and Ethan, are 4 and 2, respectively. As you can probably imagine, we get A LOT of requests from these two active and adventurous boys. And, truthfully, I want to be a YES mom. I want to say yes to those sweet little faces with their big brown eyes, and precocious grins. And, I DO say yes to pleas for taking naps in the tent we pitch in the game room or eating dinner on a picnic blanket out back. I always say yes to racing their scooters through the living room with their makeshift obstacle course and kicking the soccer ball in the back yard.
But, along with their requests for the above, come the, “Mommy, I want candy.” “Mommy, I want cookies.” “Mommy, I want ice cream, popsicles, gummy bears, gummy worms, juice boxes, donuts!" Did I mention popsicles? Or, “Daddy, TV! TV! TV!” Ethan’s vocabulary isn’t exactly proficient so lots of grabbing for i-phones, pointing at the pantry or desperately trying to open the refrigerator. There are times when they want to skip baths, skip naps, or skip sleep altogether.
Our NO’s are met with tears, hysterics, temper tantrums, and full-on melt downs, at which point my husband turns to Mick Jagger.
But, here’s the reality, my children are 4 and 2. They can’t possibly understand the ramifications and consequences of a diet made up solely of ice cream. They don’t understand we are protecting their health and development. When we tell our children they can’t play in the street, we aren’t trying to steal their joy. We know the danger of cars going too fast and drivers who don’t pay attention. When we say it’s time for bed, we don’t want to rob them of fun. We know they need sleep to function and grow.
We are good parents who want to love and protect our children. And, that’s EXACTLY the nature of our Heavenly Father. God is a good parent protecting and loving His children. 2 Corinthians 6:18 reads, “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” We’ve all experienced times in our life when we begged God to bring us that relationship, that job, that promotion, that _________fill in the blank. And, we’ve all experienced God telling us NO. If you're anything like me (or Davis and Ethan) you have probably thrown a temper tantrum, "WHY CAN’T I HAVE WHAT I WANT?????" And, just like my husband, God responds with… You can’t always get what you want… But, if you try sometime you find… You get what you need!
Guess what? That guy I thought I wanted? He wasn’t right for me. That job? God had something much bigger in mind. The house I had my heart set on? I wasn’t financially responsible then.
God is for us, not against us. If we trust His nature, which is just like that of a good parent, we can trust His answer to our prayers. Whether that answer is yes, no, or not right now… It is most definitely what is good for us.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
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