If you know me or have read this blog much, you know that I have two boys — 5 & 3. Before being married with kids, I had wise friends and mentors who told me that being a parent helped them to understand and know God so much better. I remember thinking that I could see how the trials of the relationship would cause the parent to trust God more deeply, seek His help more fervently, and humble themselves before Him more frequently. I also thought that I could understand how it would help them understand God’s relationship to us as Father. Those things are all true as most any parent can testify. What I didn’t consider at the time were the ways children act daily and how that shows our heart towards God. We may act more maturely than our children, but how often are our actions a mask or a different expression of similar childish emotions?
This morning I was given an example of how my heart sometimes is towards God. The three year old was playing with a transformer. (Let me just say that we don’t allow the boys to watch the show or the recent movies. We do have some of the toys which are great for puzzle solving and fine motor skills.) He had transformed the toy into a robot and was trying to turn it back into a stealth fighter. He had done this several times throughout the morning. Every time I had to help him with part of it. The legs are just a little too hard for him to get in place. This final time, I was in the kitchen preparing lunch and he was in the living room. Rather than coming and asking for my help again, he tried to put the legs in and couldn’t. He still didn’t come ask for my help. Instead he began to stomp his feet, whine, and cry. I just silently waited. A moment later he came to me and asked in a very grown-up voice to help him. I praised him for that and reminded him that it doesn’t help to throw a fit. Then, of course, I fixed the plane.
Afterwards I couldn’t help but think how many times I have done the same thing. When things get tough and I can’t make life work the way I want, do I regularly ask Him for help first? By His grace alone, I sometimes do. Unfortunately, too often I allow my flesh to take control and I throw an adult fit. I may not stomp my feet, whine and cry, but how often have I turned my frustration on others in anger? Or how often I have sought the “comfort” of others by complaining about my situation? And worse, how many times have I turned my back on the Lord, refusing to pray, sing His praises, or read His Word because I was unhappy about what He sovereignly allowed in my life?
He is the sovereign Lord. He spoke worlds into existence and there is nothing that happens without His allowing it. So when I throw my grown-up hissy fits, I am acting in pride that I know better than He. I am insulting the King of Kings. Elyon, who gives me every breath I breathe, every morsel I eat, every thread of clothing that I wear, and everything I could want or need, is made very small when I choose to throw those fits. And I am made very large — in my eyes.
Apparently I needed confirmation on my thoughts. A little bit ago, I read this status update from a Facebook friend. “Complaining-‘It is an emotional rejection of God’s providence, will, and circumstances for one’s life.’ -John MacArthur”
Instead of complaining in times of frustration, I need to be willing to follow James’ instruction:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Count it all joy, let steadfastness have its full effect, and ask God for wisdom. That’s a much better solution than the adult hissy fit. Don’t ya think?