REFLECTIONS: May I have a cookie??
“Mom, may I have a cookie,” asked 7 year old Samantha, “I’m really hungry!”
“I’m making a special dinner,” said Mom, “and it will be ready soon.”
“But, I want something now,” insisted Samantha.
“OK,” said Mom, “if you’re hungry you may have part of this banana.”
“I want a cookie,” snapped Samantha stomping from the kitchen yelling, “You never listen!”
Is it true that Mom wasn’t listening? Mom was listening or she wouldn’t have offered an alternative. Was Samantha listening? No, she was so focused on what she wanted that she missed the hints of something better to come.
What Samantha didn’t know was that an early birthday surprise was soon to arrive in the form of her Grandma who was staying for a few days. Had Samantha had that cookie, she may not have enjoyed her dinner as much, not to mention her favorite dessert.
Aren’t we that way sometimes when we ask God for things? We want God to immediately comply with exactly what we want, when we want it and the way we want it or we may accuse him of not listening. I heard that lived out recently at a restaurant while traveling. We happened to strike up a conversation with someone at a table near us. She wondered if it would rain soon and I said that I supposed that we would have to ask God about that. She replied, “Oh, he never listens.”
I don’t know the circumstances in this woman’s life but obviously she felt God was not answering her as she wished. When we feel like Samantha or this woman we should consider the words of Psalm 94. The writer is lamenting the bad things that happen in the world and wonders when God will finally answer prayers and make things right. God’s response is pretty blunt so strap yourself in!! “Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?” (Psalm 94:8-9)
God knows even more about life than we can see or understand but we are still told to pray about our needs and wants. “…In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.”(Philippians 4:6) However, if God doesn’t follow our timetable or preference, we must not let our faith weaken because God is a lot smarter than we are. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (I Corinthians 1:25)
In addition to exercising our faith during times when the answers are not as we wish, let’s seek to understand what God might be trying to teach us. He knows us better than anyone. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-14,16) Perhaps God has planned something far better than the cookie we request!
Helen McCormack and her husband, David, are members of Wycliffe Bible Translators and serve from their home in Minot.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Andrea Johnson at 857-1945 or firstname.lastname@example.org