I really hate making my kids cry. Saying no to them and seeing those sad puppy dog eyes breaks my heart. They always want one more popsicle, to stay up later, to run ahead of mom on the street, to walk out of the store with whatever toy has caught their eye on any particular day. I’ve tried to master the art of distraction so when I have to turn them down I can divert their attention to something else and avoid the tears all together. To them a no answer is just mommy being mean, keeping them from having fun…or keeping them from satisfying that nonstop craving for cookies and candy. The thing is, they just don’t get it. They don’t get that always saying yes means tummy aches, cranky kids, bad owies, and ultimately spoiled, entitled kids who grow up expecting everyone to hand them everything. So even though it makes me mean and starts the water works, I say no…(you’re welcome world).
The funny thing is, no matter how disappointed (or angry) they are, when I make them sad I’m the one they want. I get home from the store with a little boy who had to walk out without a new train and he wants to sit in my lap and get hugs and kisses…all while telling me how bad I made him feel and all the reasons I should have said yes instead of no. I don’t always explain to him the reason I turned him down, often he won’t understand it all anyway. Even though it was within my power to grant his request and give him what he wanted, I knew it was in his best interest to say no this time. And although he’s disappointed, he doesn’t turn away from me, he turns to me. He loves me more. He might not understand the reason for the no until he’s grown up and has to say no to a little boy of his own, but eventually he’ll know that the no was for his own good, my own good, and the good of people around him. Right now, all he knows is that he’s not happy and mommy is the one who can love away his hurt.
I find the same thing in my relationship with Jesus. When I come to Him asking for something I want so badly, something I feel I need to have and He says no, the disappointment cuts deep. It leaves a raw feeling that seems as though it will never be mended…but when the hurt is real and I can’t understand what’s going on, He is the one I want. I need Him more than ever…I don’t need to know the why, I just need to know that He still loves me and holds me.
We faced this kind of disappointment two months ago when we lost little boy number three. We were so excited to find out we had another baby coming and before we had even a hint of a problem, I was praying for a healthy, perfect baby. I prayed that every bone would form properly, every organ would be in the correct place and perform exactly as it should, that perfect skin would cover all the bones and hold my baby together just right. I prayed that this little one would know God even while he was growing and the he would sense the Spirit with him all the time. As far as we knew, all of those prayers were being answered, that God was saying yes to everything exactly as we had asked for it. And then one day, we were left with a big, glaring no that left our hearts ripped open. Our little boy was gone before we ever laid eyes on him. So I thought maybe I could change His mind. Since Enoch hadn’t been born yet, we prayed that God would restore life, that his heartbeat would come back, that I would feel my boy kicking again. We quoted all the right scriptures, prayed all the right prayers, listened to every Smith Wigglesworth sermon we could find and had more faith than we have ever had that a miracle was coming. And still the answer was no.
Enoch was born “sleeping” some days after we were told he was gone and I knew I had to let go of my request. Even though I didn’t want to, and I really couldn’t believe the answer was no. I had to let go of the request, I had to let go of a first birthday, first day of school, skinned knees, basketball games, a graduation, a wedding, grandkids. I had to let it go without understanding why the answer was no.
The funny thing is, it makes me love Him more. It was within God’s power to answer me with a yes, but He didn’t. And it makes me want Him more. I want to sit and talk with Him, telling Him all the reasons I’m disappointed and let Him be my comfort. I don’t need to know why the answer was no…most likely I wouldn’t understand the reasons even if He did explain them to me. I just need to know that His answers are always in our best interests. They might not always be what we want to hear, but they are always what we need to hear. He is good. And it makes me love Him more.