My children think I can do anything.
Actually, let me rephrase that.
My children think I can do anything they want.
“Mom, you didn’t give me enough lunch!” This, the claim from my fourth-grader in the middle of a school day. I was volunteering for her sister’s first grade computer class when a knock sounded on the door and my eldest poked her head in, found me, and expressed her complaint.
“I didn’t give you enough lunch? What do you mean?” I searched my daughter’s face, which was flushed from the effort of high-tailing from the lunch room to the computer room where I was supposed to be helping six-year-olds draw Tux Paint snowmen but now stood face to face with The Wimpy Lunch Problem.
“I’m still hungry! You didn’t pack me enough to eat.”
“Sweetheart, I’m not sure what you want me to do about that right now this very minute, I mean, I don’t have any food in my purse and I can’t go get you something more to eat. I’m helping the first graders. Do you have any snacks left in your backpack?”
“No, I’m saving those for snack time!” Of course. “And I ate my sandwich and my celery—but you gave me kiwi and I don’t want kiwi. I’m still hungry!”
“Soooo…” I tread lightly, “it’s not that you don’t have enough to eat; you just don’t want to eat what you were given.” And then you searched me out in the school building to tell me this. “Is that right?”
“Yes!” She raised her eyebrows and opened her eyes wide. “I need more lunch!”
Lord Jesus. Give me wisdom.
Perhaps I should’ve been flattered that my daughter assumed I was supernaturally capable of feeding her on demand with nothing but a used tissue and a cough drop in my pocket. Or maybe I should’ve taken her temperature because this was obviously a feverish act of delirium. Who does she think I am?
Who does she think she is? Dissing my kiwi and demanding something more. Phhft.
And yet—let’s be honest. I do this to God all the time. Don’t you?
- “God, I need more money!”
Yes, child, I gave you work so you could earn some.
“I know, but I didn’t want it that way. I don’t want to work. I want you to give my husband more money so I can go shopping and drink Starbucks.”
- “God, I need more patience!”
Yes, child, I gave you children so you could practice developing patience.
“Oh I love the children but I don’t want to practice. Can’t you just make them behave?”
- “God, I need more faith!”
Yes, child, you will get it. Suffering increases faith.
“Nooooo but I didn’t want THAT! Give me happiness in my lunch box! Suffering is gross!”
Sometimes in our walk of faith, we just have to eat the kiwi. We might not like the taste of it, we might gag when it goes down, but in the end it will produce the result we desire—a full stomach, a full income, a longsuffering heart, or a soul that knows God is the only trustworthy refuge.
I may not be a perfect mother but I do know a thing or two. Such as what makes up a healthy lunch. Just because my daughter didn’t feel like eating kiwi that day doesn’t mean it wasn’t still good for her, or adequate for her needs.
How much more, then, does God—our perfect Heavenly Father—know what we really need? Regardless of how we feel about our portion, He always has our best interests in mind. And He knows better than we do what those are in the first place.
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:9–11, NLT).
The question underlying our proverbial Wimpy Lunch Problem is this: what is our definition of “good”? Does it mean enjoyable? Not necessarily. The original Greek word for “good” in this passage is “agatha” or “agathos,” which means “intrinsically good, good in nature, good whether it is seen to be so or not.”
That’s the kind of good we should want for ourselves. Whether we can admit it or not.
You’ll be relieved to know that my daughter did not starve that day. She found a fruit rollup in her backpack and returned the kiwi home untouched. And so it goes. She is learning just like I am.
Today, will you trust God with what he’s given you? Even if it’s tough to swallow. Even if you’re asking for something else. Even if it feels like your portion is not enough.
He gives good gifts. Do you believe it?
P.S. I received full authorization from my fourth-grader to share her part in this story. No children were exploited in the making of this blog post. By now surely you know my intention is only ever to exploit myself, amen?