The fun usually begins in aisle two. “Chocolate doughnuts! Please Mom?” My youngest looks at me with hopeful delight.
“Oh no, we don’t need doughnuts.” I shake my head and focus my attention back to steering the wobbly-wheeled shopping cart around a display of pop tarts. But the next aisle holds its own challenges.
My middle daughter points toward the grape soda, then smacks her hands together in desperate prayer, “Please can’t we get it? It’s so good!”
I am now on a mission. “No," I say with the strength and grit of a drill sergeant. "We are going to finish our shopping, and we are not buying anything that’s not on the list!” Determined to hold my ground, I trek through the Twinkies, charge past the Cheetos, and cruise by the cookies.
I don’t recall teaching my kids how to ask for things. It comes so naturally. They’re my kids, and they’re pretty comfortable asking me for the desires of their heart. They may not like it when I say no, but I think they know it’s because I love them and want what’s best for them.
In a way, this reminds me of my relationship with God. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” How great is that? God says we can approach Him with anything!
I know, sometimes God says no. And it can be difficult when it's something I want so much – something that I think would bring me joy and happiness. But I have to remember that God sees the whole picture. He loves me and knows what’s best for me. Whenever His answer is no, I try to remember this one simple thought. He’s God, and I’m not.
I guess it’s like cruising down the candy aisle with three kids. Sometimes you've got to say no, but how sweet it is when the answer is yes!
*Photo from freedigitalphotos.net: "Swirl Candy On Sticks" by Stuart Miles