This morning, I was holding her and eating my breakfast. She is at the point now where we are feeding her the standard mushy baby food but also giving her a few small solids like Cheerios. So every time I brought my English muffin up toward my mouth, she would reach out to grab it and try to eat it. I'd lovingly look at her and say, "No, no, no, this is for Daddy." She'd stare at me with her pretty eyes and start playing with the tablecloth. I'd take another bite and she would reach out again. This happened the whole time I ate.
I wanted to explain to her that the grapes would be bad for her. I wanted to tell her that she only had two little teeth and couldn't chew it properly. I wanted to explain that if she tried to swallow it, she would choke. I wanted to tell her that I didn't want to give her anything new because of her allergic reaction a week ago. But I couldn't. There is no way to explain that to an eight month old.
So I stopped eating the grapes around her. I held her close and patted her on the back and sang to her. I picked up a flashy toy she likes and played with her. She remembered that her Daddy loves her and takes good care of her. She smiled again and was happy. I delighted in seeing her that way.
I think its like that with us and God. There have been times in my life when I ask God for something and He doesn't give it to me. My natural instinct is to be upset at God, to be mad at Him, to feel as if He is holding out on me.
Now, its easy to deal with this if the thing I'm asking for is bad or sinful. If I'm praying that God would give me a bunch of cocaine, its obvious why God is saying no. But what about when I'm asking for a grape? Grapes aren't bad or sinful. In fact, they are good and healthy! Michaela was watching me eat them and yet I was denying her. Its very difficult to not grow upset or angry or disappointed with God when we are asking for things like grapes. When we want something that other people have, that is not sinful, and seems good yet God refuses to give it.
What is your grape? Is it a job? A spouse? Peace about a big decision coming up? A happy home? A video game? Friendship? What good thing are you asking God for that He is just not giving?
What we need to remember is that God is a very good Dad. He is a perfect, loving Father. He delights in our happiness and joy. The Bible says that He doesn't want to keep anything good from us.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. -- Psalm 84:11
But even though grapes are good for me and probably for you, they aren't good for Michaela. At least not right now. She doesn't understand that. No amount of me trying to explain it will help her understand it.
I wonder how many times I've been mad at God for not giving me the grape I was asking for and God was up there saying, "No, no, no. This isn't good for you." God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we are ready for and what we are not. He knows what will be good for us and what will not. He knows.
You and I will ask for many things in our lifetime. Some of them will be obviously bad and sinful and God will say no and the reasons will be obvious. Some of them, though, will be like grapes. They seem so good and other people have them and are happy. And yet God will say no to us. We can allow that to cause us to be upset with God or sad about our lives or even doubt God entirely. Or, we can remember that our heavenly Daddy loves us and takes good care of us. He knows what's best and isn't holding back anything good from us. Let's choose to trust our Dad when He says, "No."