So many times, in my life I have prayed to God for things of my flesh and things of my spirit. The things I have asked for have ranged from my desire to go out with my friends to longevity of life. I do this because as a child my earthly father taught me that for anything I want in life, all I must do is ask God for it and it shall be so. I believed that then and I believe it now, or do I?
As a child I remember sitting in church on Sunday morning wanting to go to the local skating rink that night with the children in the neighborhood. It seemed as if they were always able to go to fun places like the skating rink and the movies. Their parents were cool and understood that a kid needed fun. My mother was not a believer in fun, she was a pragmatist. My mother was a mother of two girls, wife to a juvenile man, worker on the job she did not enjoy and a student at the local university. Fun was not a part of her day or life for that matter.
So, when Sunday morning came and I was sitting in the church pew, I knew the only way I was going to be able to go to the skating rink with my friends was by the grace of God. So, I prayed for that privilege on more Sundays than not. On some Sundays he said, “yes” on other Sundays he said, “no,” to me . As a child this was really confusing. My earthly father said that if I ask my heavenly father for something, he will give it to me. My earthly father said that if I cannot depend on anyone here on earth, I can always depend on my heavenly father, God. So, why is God telling me “no”? My earthly father said that all I had to do is pray and believe. I did those things, every time, why did he sometimes tell me “no”. What my earthly father did not tell me is that God’s “yes” isn’t always a literal “yes.”
Sometimes, his “no” to me is a “yes” to someone else. Sometimes, his “no” to my question is a “yes” to my safety. I wish my earthly father would have told my younger self this information. Maybe he did not for the same reason my heavenly father does not tell me (us) everything at one time. He knew my immature brain and heart would not be able to understand. See, little me did not know of the dangers that took place at the skating rinks on some Sundays. She did not know that on those Sundays that God said “no” to her request, he was saying “yes” to her safety. She also did not know that on some of those Sundays when her mom relayed the “no” answer, it was because her mom was needing the comfort of her children around her. See, as a child we only see our wants and our needs, but God sees the full picture, and God is here for all of his children, sometimes he has to sacrifice the wants of one for the happiness and protection of the whole.
My earthly father was a juvenile man. This is hard on a wife that was juvenile in age. My mother was 17 years old when she married my father who was only 18 years old himself. She was 18 years old when she had me; 23 years old when she had my sister. My mother is someone with dreams and desires while my father is someone who lives for the moment, the thrill. Raising kids was not a part of his plan, nor hers for that matter. The difference was my mom accepted the responsibility of parenthood and my dad did not. So, when times were rough and abusive, my mom at least had us to depend on.
Since my parents were a juvenile couple, there were a lot of hard times: financially, physically, and emotionally. Because of this there were times when my mom just could not handle one more thing. She did not feel like taking the risk of something happening to her babies. If she could keep us in the house, she at least knew we were safe. How could God say “yes” to my skating rink request when my mom had requested sanity? The two requests could not always be granted at the same time.