Tag Archives: Father

God’s strong-willed children

Our feisty, spirited and very cute granddaughter Alivia (Livie), not quite three years old, is learning the power of her own will. Although she clearly looks up to big sister Sophie, Livie also has a mind of her own and doesn’t hesitate to make her wishes known. She knows what she wants, and she expresses it clearly. Sometimes she can’t have what she wants, but her Mom and Dad are wise enough to curb her will without crushing it.

Sophie, now five years old, has been learning some of the ways of the Lord. She has a sensitive conscience, wants to please the Lord, and is usually quite good to her little sister. However, like Alivia, she too has desires, and sometimes this leads to conflict.

Yesterday Alivia wanted her tricycle back. Her big sister had taken it. Alivia complained, and her Dad intervened and told Sophie to give the tricycle back to Alivia. Justice was done, and Alivia was satisfied.

However, from Sophie’s perspective, this was not a perfect solution, because for Alivia to get her tricycle back, Sophie had to give up something that she wanted. It took a father’s wisdom, and a time out, but eventually peace was restored. Eventually Sophie was able to see things through her father’s eyes, and the sisters were friends again.

This classic conflict scenario illustrates several key truths.

First, our Father wants us to present our desires to Him. It is not wrong to ask him for things. Both girls presented their cases to their father, and he listened to them both with compassion as well as firmness.

Second, when we present our desires to our Father, we also need to recognize that He is God and we are not. For peace to be restored, both Sophie and Alivia needed to be willing to let their Dad settle the dispute.

Third, we need to stay engaged with God even when the answers are not immediate, or not what we had hoped for. Even though it took some time before Sophie could see things her Dad’s way, she trusted him enough to yield to his discipline, and eventually, she too was satisfied.

Sometimes we need to let God adjust our perspective before we can receive the blessings that He desires most to give us.  If we stay engaged, and keep talking to him and listening to him, eventually he gives us the desires of our heart, although sometimes He first has to awaken in us a desire for those things that lead to true peace and lasting satisfaction.

Like Sophie and Alivia, all God’s children are on a journey to maturity. The plans God has for us are far beyond what we can now see or imagine. If we want to come into all that He has for us, we need to learn how to deal with the strong desires that arise from our souls.

Desires can cause conflict, and they can be destructive. But unlike Buddhism, which teaches its adherents to extinguish all desires, the God of the Bible chooses instead to work with our desires and shape them for our good and for his glory. In this process, we do need to reject some desires and embrace others. But let’s not reject the whole concept of desire. It was God who gave us our wills, and God who placed in us the capacity for desire. When we come to him in faith, and allow Him to sort through our desires and respond according to His wisdom and love, he does not extinguish our wills or our desires. Instead, he shapes them to His purposes, and awakens in us a desire for His glory, so that He can bless us far beyond what we can imagine or conceive.

Thanks be to God for his amazing wisdom and goodness to us!


God is a good father … who sometimes says No

One of the hardest parts of being a Dad is saying No.   Having raised four children (Bethany, the youngest and the only one left at home, is now 17) I can say that I always wanted to give my children whatever they asked for.  Sometimes I wasn’t able, sometimes I didn’t think it was good for them, and sometimes (looking back, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight), I realize that it was my own lack of faith in Father’s provision that kept me from giving them a blessing that they hoped for.  But I never wanted to disappoint them.  That wasn’t in my heart towards them.

Once we come to know God as Father and discover the miracle of answered prayer, we sometimes don’t understand why not all requests get answered – or at least not with a “yes”.  Sometimes we don’t get a “yes” because it just wouldn’t be good for us.   Sometimes Father is testing our faith and perseverance before giving us the answer we seek.   Sometimes he wants us to be willing to surrender the thing we are asking Him for before He can trust us with it.   Sometimes we could have had a “yes” if our faith allowed us to receive the answer.  Although He is always far better to us than we deserve, Father will not always override our lack of faith to give us a blessing that we are not ready to trust Him for because of our doubts and fears!

But whatever the reason why God sometimes seems to delay in answering our prayers, or seems not to answer them the way that we hope He will, the one conclusion we should never draw is that He doesn’t care.  I am not nearly as good a father to my children as God is to His children,  but my desire is always to say yes to them because they are my children and I want to see them blessed.   The more I get to know God’s heart the more I want to be a blessing to my children.  Jesus said “If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:11 NIV).

So when the answers to your prayers seem delayed or obscured, the one thing you should never do is stop praying – and the one conclusion you should never draw is that God doesn’t care.  He cares supremely – that’s why He sacrificed His Son for you.

Although He cares about our every desire, God’s agenda is sometimes different from ours.  Our agenda is often to get an answer to the immediate problem we are facing or the immediate desire that currently occupies our attention.   His agenda is to see us grow up into sons and daughters who understand our inheritance and are willing and able to pay the price of sharing in His glory (Romans 8:15-17).  Yes, there is a price for us to pay as there was a price for Jesus to pay.  The price is our independence, our self-will, our desire to call the shots and have everything work out our way.  Yes, we are promised that if we love God and are called according to His purpose, all things will work together for our good (Romans 8:28) – but not always for our convenience or our immediate gratification!  God cares too much for that.   But I have found that there is a tremendous blessing in always being able to go to my Father, without shame or fear, when I don’t understand what is going on around me or why things are the way they are.  Without fail, once I see and embrace His perspective, my faith is increased, my fears, doubts, frustration and resentment melt away,  and I can once again say, with Jesus, that my Father delights in His children and loves to give good things to those who ask Him.