I was having coffee, several years ago, with my undergraduate philosophy professor.  I don’t remember the context entirely, but he was describing some aspects of the nature of God.
He said, “A good father always wants to say, ‘yes’ to his children.”
 
This statement has stuck with me for many years, but it has become more meaningful lately as my son has gotten older and begun to doggedly ask for the things he desires. Wanting to say ‘yes’ to Isaiah has to do with numerous factors, all of which I wish were in constant alignment.  Just a few of these factors are listed below.

  • He has to be asking for something that is good for him, or at least, not harmful.
  • It has to be within my power to give it to him.
  • Giving him what he wants can’t impede the freedom or goodness of anyone else.

Keep Calm and EAT SKITTLES. FOREVER! Poster

So when we’re making dinner and our son asks to have Skittles for dinner, 

I want to say ‘yes’.  But, while that would make him happy, I know that’s not the best for him.  I know he’s got to get some protein and vitamins into his system so he can grow big and strong.

So I say, ‘no’ and I listen to my grumpy son storm around the house

 
And when we’re driving through Nebraska on the way home to Indiana from the west coast after our summer vacation and our son asks from his car seat if he can play Skylanders, I want to say ‘yes’.  But the X-Box is at home, and the cord wouldn’t reach, and even if it could, he couldn’t see the screen
So I say, ‘no’ and I listen to him whine for the next 100 miles.
 
And, after school, when he asks to play at a friend’s house, I want to say, ‘yes’.  But the family has already said ‘not today’ and suggested another time because they’ve had a hard day.  His parents aren’t home and his grandma is tired and I’m not just going drop my son off after they already politely declined.
So I say, ‘no’ and I try to explain to him that we’ll go over there in a few days and that’ll be just as good.

 GlassesEven as I type this I can hear my son screaming, “I want my glasses!” We went to the eye doctor today and he needs glasses.  He tried on several pairs and we decided on one. I want to say, ‘yes’.  Not only does he want to wear them now, but the sooner that he wears them the better it is for his eye development and the better it is for him as he learns to read. Also, he looks cute in them.  But they have to put the proper lenses in the frames and that’s going to take some time.
So I say, ‘no’ and wait for him to scream it again.

 
I wish he understood these reasons. I wish he knew that I always intend what is best for him. I wish he knew that the ‘no’ was based in love.
But he’s little and he doesn’t understand holistic development for mind/body health.  He doesn’t understand other people, he doesn’t even understand himself.  His soul is too little to comprehend reasons bigger than itself. 
 
 
Every time I say, ‘no’ to my son I remember what my professor said.  I try to make sure that I’m saying it for the right reasons and not just because I’m tired or annoyed.  And my knowledge of God deepens as I parent my son.
 
This all comes into vivid focus for me as I think of the request that I’ve been making of my True and Heavenly Father, the Father that my professor was describing as “good”.  My family has been asking something of Him for quite a while. 
My wife and I have been asking for our second son. 
Isaiah has been asking for his brother.
 
We have been given guardianship of our second son, who is now residing in an orphanage in India.  We are just waiting on one last piece of paperwork to go through and we will fly to India and bring Enoch home. Enoch_2
And we keep asking.  And we continue to hear nothing.
And we cry and get frustrated and wonder and are confused. 
 
I truly believe what my theology tells me, that God is a good Father.  He is the Father of Lights.  He gives good gifts to His children.  I have personally written previously that his gifts are of a mythical, fantastical, magnitude and called him, “the Giver of Dragons”.

If God is truly good, then there must be some reason that he’s saying ‘no’.
Maybe it’s not good for us yet.
Perhaps it would cause harm to someone else or hinder their freewill.
 
Or, likely, the reason is just so big that my soul cannot comprehend it.
 
 
I must take solace in the fact that He is a good Father.  He is the first Father, the True Father.  He is the standard for good fathers.
 
All we can do is keep asking…
…And remember that a good father always wants to say, ‘yes’ to his children.

 

 

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One Response to Asking The Good Father

  1. Melissa Sprock says:

    hmmm…good words for the soul. We’re praying for a “yes” with you. I’m thankful for the reminder that the “no” isn’t against us.

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