As my family was spending the day together, I listened as my 11-year-old niece begged her father to rent a movie on the way home from the restaurant. Home for them was a small farming town where he and I had grown up playing in cotton, running through rice fields, and exploring the backwoods of Arkansas.
Today kids passed there time with movies, video games, iPhones, iPads, and the new fad, fidget spinners. We had spent the last hour looking for a fidget cube, which is a box that fits in the palm of your hand and has four options to keep your hands busy, all of which required pushing a button, spinning a wheel, or rolling a ball. My brothers' answer was not what my niece wanted to hear, so she tried a strategy that sometimes worked on her mother, but was sure to just cause discontent with her father….whining. That’s right, folks, we’ve all been there and often succeeded. It’s not an ideal method, but hey, sometimes it meets our immediate needs.
Soon my brother’s patience wore thin, and her whining was met with a firm, “No.” Just like any child that realizes they have lost the battle, she backed off, surely planning a way to work in plan B at a later date.
We soon split ways for a short time, while my brother and sister-in-law decided to get groceries, and my mother, niece, and I continued our search for the fidget cube. We both were successful and met up at their house. My brother entered the house with surprising news for his daughter. He had rented a movie for us to watch. It wasn’t just any movie; it was the new “Star Wars; Rogue.” A movie series that she and her dad had spent countless hours watching together.
My brother felt the need to school her properly on the original series that we all grew up on in the 1980s, followed by the recent versions which filled in the gaps. These were memorable daddy/daughter moments that she would cherish as she grew older. They were moments that my brother and I never experienced with a father or even father-figure, so I imagine this was a special moment he had planned.
He barely breathed the last words from his mouth when it was met yet again with whining because she didn’t want to watch “that" movie. She wanted to watch a different movie. My brother was patient as he listened to her insistent plea to re-watch a movie that she had seen no less than 10 times. He tried to explain that this was the newly released Star Wars film and he had hoped they would watch it together. Still, her pleading was for the old movie. Finally, after his patience ran thin, he gave in and said, “I was excited to watch this together. I rented the movie so you and I could watch it, but I will watch it alone after you go to bed tonight.”
Hours passed and she decided that she wanted to see the new Star Wars movie with her dad, but his mind was already made up. We would watch her movie now and he would watch Star Wars without her. Tears filled her eyes as she realized her error would cost her more than she understood earlier.
As I stood watching this 11-year-old heart pouring out the hurt and regret she felt once she realized her error, I could see how I too have been in this same place. Not just when I was a child asking for selfish desires, but as a 39-year-old asking for desires that He placed in my heart, but have yet to come to fruition.
How many of us have prayed, prayed some more, and prayed more? We not only asked repeatedly, but begged, pleaded, wept, and whined asking the Lord to answer a desire of our heart? Every time we talked to Him it's all about this one desire.
Could it be that our prayers are unanswered due to our selfish hearts? Or has our prayers been answered, yet because the answer was delayed or looked differently than we had anticipated, we immediately rejected it upon first sight?
Perhaps I have focused so much on the “thing” I wanted instead of delighting in the God who has already given me so much. He gave it freely and would give it again. He just wants us to acknowledge Him and spend time with Him.
He wants to spend time with us because He loves us.
Much like my niece, I'm sure I've focused so much on what I wanted, that I missed out on an opportunity for God to bless me because it wasn't what I envisioned my life to be.
Scripture actually says that if we will delight ourselves in Him (aka. spend time with him because we want to not because we have to) then He will give us the desires of our hearts ~ Psalms 37:4.
Do we only spend time with God when he gives us the very thing we wanted?
If we trusted Him to give me His best instead of what I think is best, wouldn't we be much happier?
Would we even need to ask Him for anything if we just delighted in Him alone?
God is a good God, who loves to give good gifts to His children. You only need to ask and wait for His Best!