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With kindergarten looming on her horizon, my five-year-old granddaughter stated seriously, “I prayed all night that Mrs. Hall would be my teacher!”
“It’s good that you talked to God about what you want, Hazel, but remember, God knows better than you do. God may know that another teacher would be a better teacher for you. Or there may be someone in another class who needs you for a friend,” her mother answered.
Hazel persisted in her prayer that Mrs. Hall would be her teacher. So, when her mother learned that Hazel’s teacher was to be Mrs. Evans she was uncertain how Hazel would react. Amazingly, Hazel accepted the news well. On the first day of school, all went smoothly. Hazel made a new friend. Mrs. Evans had a princess theme for the book area. Loving books and everything princess, Hazel came home satisfied. On the drive home from school the second day, however, Hazel announced matter-of-factly, “I think God made a mistake. Mrs. Evans was kind of grumpy today.”
Cute story, but isn’t that how we adults judge God’s response to our prayers? We think that God should do whatever it takes to keep us happy. When we aren’t happy we think that maybe God made a mistake. God instructs us to tell Him the desires of our heart. But, like Hazel, we tend to want to dictate His timing and His presentation. We ignore the fact that God has a better plan than ours, a plan that may look quite different from our own. We want quick and comfortable. But, God cares more about His children’s character than their comfort. A teen girl may pray to be beautiful. God delivers beauty on the inside, rather than on the outside, as she had hoped. God’s answer is much more lasting and valuable than physical beauty, but the teen girl may not recognize her requested gift wrapped in this different paper. Other times God’s timing does not match our own. God knows what we need, however, and His timing is always perfect. A genuine sword sounds delightful to a small boy, but a wise parent knows that a sword could be dangerous for a small child. The request will be answered, but now is not the right time for delivery. Even when God’s timing and presentation do not match our own, we can be certain that God always gives His children His best gifts at just the right time.
Therefore, we are wise, like Hazel, when we share our heartfelt desires with God. We can do so in full assurance that God’s love for us never fails, that His plan for us will be better than ours, and that His timing will be perfect, even if we do have to put up with a grumpy teacher once in a while.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.’’ (James 1:17)
Contributed by Carolyn Primm