Loving a God Who Sometimes Says No
By Greg Smith
As parents, we love to say yes to our children. It often means we’ll have fun together. Sometimes it makes life go easier. But sometimes it’s absolutely the wrong thing to do.
Children don’t think about the overall effects of their wants. A cookie isn’t appropriate before dinner. Staying up past bedtime isn’t smart the next day. Playing in the street is not safe. And getting everything you want when you want it makes you selfish, manipulative and foolish.
Parents have to learn to say NO for the welfare of their child. Because they know what’s coming in the future. Because they want to raise a child who is street-wise. And because they want to build-in character that produces selflessness, courtesy and a wise dependence on God.
As Christians, we are welcomed into God’s Kingdom and called to be like Christ. We seek His kingdom first. We dedicate everything we are and have to him. We pay attention to what he says and then we do it. We serve God out of love, not for what we can manipulate out of him.
Consider what the Spirit says in Hebrews 12:5b-11 (the Message):
“My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either. It's the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.
“God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”