Lately, my nephew has been working on potty training and he has had a few incentives proposed to get him going to the bathroom in the toilet. When he goes #2, he gets some ice cream. And his parents told him that if he did it multiple days in a row in the toilet, they would get him a fish.
For the last few days he has done this with a great deal of success.
So he got a bucket of water out of the kiddie pool in the backyard and proudly dragged it up to Mom and Dad and told them he had the water ready because he knew he was getting a fish. Mom and Dad were surprised because, though he had been doing well, they didn’t think it was quite long enough for the fish reward. However, the amazing cuteness of the situation won them over. They made plans to go to the store and purchase a fish.
Situations like this make me think of God the Father. Does He have gifts He wants to give us? Yes. Can we encourage Him to do that a little sooner by being super cute (a.k.a. child-like)? I would think so.
Going back to the fish, what loving parent could deny such a request? My brother and sister-in-law intended to eventually get a fish for my nephew, but he helped move the process along with his humble and expectant request. I’ll bet God is similar.
I, on the other hand, at times seem to demand things from God and throw temper-tantrums. Do I give in to my niece or nephew when they throw a fit? Nope. Family rule: “You never get what you want when you throw a fit.” And yet I do that to God.
To continue the story, the fish was purchased and brought home that night with great fanfare. The kids went to bed excited. Sadly, the fish died about one hour later. When Mom and Dad, tired from a long day, discovered the dead fish, what was their reaction? “We have to go to the store tonight and get a new fish.”
If two human beings are so anxious to please their child who is trying so hard to be potty trained, wouldn’t a God who loves us infinitely desire to give us so much more? And yet I have trouble believing it.
I’ve learned so much about God and the spiritual life through children. How about you?
I remember years ago, in a bible study class, having a light bulb come on in my heart; when Jesus was teaching his friends how to pray he started with “Our Father” So if I want to understand the relation ship I should have with God, all I have to do is look at the parent child relationships near and dear to me. (Great minds think alike Ha Ha) God really does make things so basic.
Excellent observation about the Lord’s Prayer!
Beautiful reflection Petra – I needed that so much! I will be reading it many times.
I am glad to hear you liked it!
That makes me think of two things:
1) The boy also BELIEVED without a doubt that his parents would fulfil their promise, despite it not having manifested quite yet.
2) Just like we ought to be specific with God, I guess you need to be specific with your kids, too! Not “If you go for several days”, but “If you go for 14 straight days without an accident…”! ?