I was working with a fourth grader yesterday, trying to do some ‘catch-up’ work because he has missed a lot of his faith education classes. He has a really rough time of it at home. His parents were only married for a short time and the divorce was viscious. There has been betrayal, lies, and all sorts of terrible things that a young boy should never have to be exposed to, especially from his mom and dad. He’s a really cute kid and the light of hope and innocence is still brightly burning inside of him.
We were speaking of prayer and I said that sometimes God says ‘yes’ and at other times God says ‘not yet’. And he spoke up, quickly and clearly and said, ‘and sometimes God says NO’. Tommy obviously knew that from first hand experience. I was going to go on with my beliefs that God, in his wisdom knows best, and that his decisions are made from his great love for us, but at that moment, they would have sounded like platitudes. I have a feeling that Tommy wasn’t speaking of a ‘no’ to a new bike or video game.
Sometimes God says ‘no’. Haven’t we all felt like that sometimes? Today I present the Exodus story to about 150 kids (grades 4-6). I think about the Israelites in the dessert, whining and complaining. How many times did they think that God said ‘no’ to them as they journeyed for 40 years. And yet, God saw the Big Picture…the end result.
I pray that someday Tommy will understand God’s ‘no’. I pray that we all will. I pray that Tommy will find peace with it, and I pray that Tommy will never stop asking.