Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)
TITLE: Tantrums and Complacency
By Edmond Ng
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- All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV)
A man was observing a woman in the grocery store with a three year old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl asked for cookies, but her mother told her, "No." The little girl immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother quietly said, "Now Monica, we just have half of the aisles left to go through—don’t be upset. It won't be long now."
Soon, they came to the candy aisle and the little girl began to shout for candy. When told she couldn't have any, she began to cry. The mother said, "There, there, Monica, don't cry—only two more aisles to go and then we'll be checking out."
When they got to the checkout stand, the little girl immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there'd be no gum purchased. The mother said serenely, "Monica, we'll be through this checkout stand in five minutes and then you can go home and have a nice nap."
The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. "I couldn't help noticing how patient you were with little Monica," he began.
The mother replied, "I'm Monica—my little girl's name is Tammy."
As funny as the anecdote may sound, there are much truths represented in the story that share a similar parallel to our relationship with God. Like Tammy, we may sometimes ask of God for things that are not necessarily beneficial or useful to us, and like Monica, God may reply with the answer, “No” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). That’s because God knows what is best for us (Jeremiah 29:11), even if it means to go through certain trials to become the person He wants us to be (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 15; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:10). We may make plans in our hearts as to what we want or where we shall go, but it is the LORD who leads us and establishes our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
Unlike Monica, however, God does not have to remind Himself to be patient with us. Our Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15). He is not slow in keeping His promise and is patient with us (2 Peter 3:9). For great is His love toward us, and His faithfulness endures forever (Psalm 117:2). Just as our heavenly Father cares for the birds of the air, much more He values us and cares for us (Matthew 6:26). Why should we then worry or cry out loud like Tammy to whine and fuss over what we shall eat, drink, or wear (Matthew 6:31)? Do we not know that in good times or bad times, all that happened in our lives are for our benefit, so that grace may abound and more people may have cause for thanksgiving (2 Corinthians 4:15)?
Let us therefore not behave like a child to burst out in tantrums or complain when things do not go our way. Instead, let us check out and test our hearts to see if we are aligned to the will of God (Lamentations 3:40). If the checkout indicates we have stepped out of line, let us be quick to get back in line and return to the Lord. If we have been wayward or complacent, let us seek God for forgiveness, that we may live in safety and be at ease, without fear of any harm (Proverbs 1:32-33; 1 John 1:9).
Forgive us dear Lord for throwing tantrums at times when things are not going the way we want. We know Lord our requests can sometimes be unreasonable or unaligned to Your will, which is why at times we receive a “No” from You. Help us therefore Lord to recognize and accept the times we are to go through certain trials, that we may not be complacent but be willing to do Your will. Only You Lord know what is best for us. Thank You, Lord, for establishing our steps and planning all things for our benefit. We praise You Lord and glorify Your name.
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