When you're not Happy with What you Have
"I want that one, Mommy! No, that one..."
"Pick the one that you like the best", I said, laying the two books before him.
"This one!" He skipped with excitement to the checkout line.
Excitedly, I got into the car, envisioning his joy in the back seat. He got a new book - action figures and all. I bet he is so happy. I want to glimpse his joy. I want to see his face.. We will play and play and play. Boy, will he be so happy with his mom now!
But, day dreaming was cut short to day screaming, as my 3-year old repeated incessantly, "I don't want it Mommy."
He screamed and he screamed because what he got wasn't enough.
He screamed and screamed because what he left behind was better.
He screamed and screamed because it wasn't the way he wanted it.
My heart broke. I had wanted to give him something special, enjoyable and exciting. I wanted him to enjoy the moment. I wanted him to delight in it, yet my little son, was anything but delighted. It was no longer about his toy and joy, because now he was completely annoyed.
A seed of discontentment was growing. The more he thought about it, the more angry he grew - with me. The more he thought about his other toy, the more he looked at his and hated it.
While my insides wanted to yell, "Be grateful boy, Momma could have gotten you nothing!," my outsides knew I'm just the same.
I see it's shine, then forget it and start to whine.
I hold joy tight until complaints come into sight.
I see another's toy and lose all my joy.
I look back, and think, I didn't want it like that.
I say I want what God's blessings, but do I really?
I wonder why he gave me this - instead of that?
I mutter a thank you, then secretly wonder why it isn't bigger and better.
I can't even see what he has given me, because all I can see is what I didn't get.
It seems I want it on my terms, my way and according to my plan.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt. 6:33)
I want it in a way that puts me ahead and that makes me important.
But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." (Mk. 10:31)
I want all gifts and no patience. All blessings and no pruning. All things and no holds bar.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)
I want it all now and pout like a baby when I don't get it.
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:25)
God is better than empty demands for illusions of peace, significance and happiness.
He promises to meet our needs according to his all-knowing power regarding what we need.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)
He is greater than any earthly toy I could covet. Greater than any pile of plastic. Just having and knowing, God, is the ultimate treasure.
It reaps rewards far greater than any empty, breakable, momentary toy I want. God offers me deep, deep meaning that touches my insides with the deepest healing touch.
I can only imagine who I would be, where I would be and how empty I would feel if he gave me everything I have demanded of Him. Or, if he gave me what everyone else has in order to quell my discomforts. Or, if he ran to fix every dissatisfaction that resides within.
I may look quite similar to a spoiled toddler and I am not even sure I would like that person too much.
In my pursuit of things, might I lose my pursuit of him?
God is infinitely better. Moments pass, desires wane, but Christ endures. His love never ends. Sure, he loves to give us what we desire for today, but as a Father would, he delights in giving us what we will need for tomorrow.
'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.' (Job 1:21)
God desires to meet our deepest hungriest, soul-quenching needs. Certainly, God often gives us things that we want, because he loves us, but his heart beats for what lasts, for what is not plastic - to be burned in the fire - but for what counts. But, for what will give us deep lasting contentment.
"...each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.…" (1 Cor. 3:13-14)
Toys often burn, land in the trash, end up broken in a closet or shoved in a corner. The things of the Lord never burn, never break and always endure. They survive the test of fire.
Let's take joy in the small gifts of today, because our contentment today may prepare us for the big eternal gifts the Lord is planning tomorrow. Everything we have is a gift, because God loves us. He is using it all for his purposes. We are being transformed - to be a perfect and holy living sacrifice to the Lord. The ultimate gift of beauty for him.
Let's take our eyes off our deficiencies
and place them on to his all sufficiency.
We have so much to be thankful for. God loves us so much that he gives in a way that answers the deepest cries of our heart. He knows what we need better than we know ourselves.
Dear friends, God's not a holy Santa, handing us everything on our wish list. Likewise, he doesn't drop coal at our door step either when we don't match up. He is so much better than that.
And, the fact of the matter is, even if we don't get anything, we still have everything - in Him.