Like most people, we have a morning routine around here. It starts with me, as the first member of the household to rise, wandering in a bleary-eyed stupor to the coffee pot, which has dutifully prepared it’s brew already, thanks to the timer. About halfway to the kitchen, three little people of the feline persuasion bolt on ahead of me, in full screaming “feed me” mode. Before I even get close to the coffee pot, I find a can of cat food and quiet the troops. They’ve trained me well.
At this point, timing becomes critical. I must put sugar in my cup, pour my coffee, and add a little cream (the real stuff ) while the cats are focused on the first course, or I’m in serious trouble.
You see, these guys know what the cream container looks like. If they realize that I have it out, two of the three cats will be climbing up my legs in full claw (ouch), attempting to persuade me to share. Because I’m such a soft-hearted daddy, if they see it, and ask for cream, I’ll be reaching in the cupboard for two little custard cups. Each will get a little cream, and be placed on the floor for the kids to enjoy. Yeah, I admit it—I’m a pushover. But, so is God:
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Mat 7:9-11 NIV)
I just can’t say no when those pleading little faces beg for a taste of cream, and God just can’t say no when we ask for good things, either.
“WHOA, DAN! I’ve asked God for LOTS of things that He didn’t give me. How can you say that God “can’t say no?” He says NO to me all the time!”
Look at the verse again. It says, “how much more will your Father in heaven give GOOD gifts…” Just because you ask for it, doesn’t mean it’s a “good gift.”
There are many things that come in cartons that look just like that cream carton. If I had a carton of some caustic chemical and the cats were demanding some of it, would I give it to them? Not if I loved them, I wouldn’t—but, they would go away angry, feeling like I don’t love them, because I had what they think is cream, and I didn’t give them any. Thank God that He DOESN’T give us everything that we ask for! We often ask for things that we think are good, but that God knows aren’t good. Because He loves us, He says “no.” We go away mad because we didn’t get our way. We ought to be thankful when God says “no.”
There’s another element here worth considering, too. Wookie and Baby are always wanting cream, but Buddy, for some reason, has lost his taste for it and doesn’t ask anymore. If Buddy were to ask, I’d put out three cups. Since he doesn’t, I only put out two, and he watches while the girls enjoy. The scripture says: “…how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” It doesn’t say that He throws his good gifts around at random. He gives them “to those who ASK HIM!”
“You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3, NIV)
When God says “NO,” don’t get mad at Him. He’s protecting you from your own lack of complete knowledge.
Aren’t you glad that God loves you enough to say no?