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  • Writer's pictureTim Hemingway

Pray because God is Sovereign

One of the features of parenthood has been, looking down into the faces of my children and hearing them ask for things I simply cannot give them. They don't know it. They ask whole heartedly, but they see so shortly; comprehend so shallowly; perceive so narrowly. That's not their fault. It's a symptom of their limitations - of their childishness. Every time one of those requests comes my way, my heart is gladdened by the request, even though I can't grant it.

I'm not talking about requests I can't grant because I don't have the power. All these requests, I have the power to grant, but the thing is, I don't have the hatred to grant them. I love my children. I don't want to see harm come to them. Rather I want to protect them from harm. I want to wrap them up in the cloak of my wisdom; I want to hide them in the shelter of my oversight; I want to shield them with the fence of my governance.

Sometimes that has brought heartache to them. Their limitations can't grasp their father's wisdom; they can't understand their father's oversight; they can't comprehend their father's caring control. All they know is the simplicity of desire that determines their request.

But what if what they desire has all the appearance of goodness to them from their limited perspective, but has all the appearance of evil from my perspective? Then is it loving to give them what they ask for? It is not loving. If the snake looks like a fish to the child, you don't give them the snake - it's a snake! (Matthew 7:9-11).

'Do you trust me?' That's what I say to them. 'You don't understand now. You will one day. Trust me'. What amazes me is that they have never stopped asking me for things despite the fact that I have often denied them what they have asked for. The reason for denying them sometimes is because I don't hate them enough to give them what they want. Nevertheless, they keep coming back, asking and asking. They come back because I'm still the one with the power to grant requests. And because they do trust that I will not withhold one good thing from them, and that I will not grant them anything bad. Sometimes that means disappointment, but even though the details for refusal may not be comprehensible to them, the principle behind the denial is.

This is the principle: Love constrains all the power at my disposal - so, you can always trust me.

That's what God is like. I get it wrong - a lot. He never does! So pray and pray and pray. And, trust and trust and trust. Even when you don't understand why the answer is 'no'. He is always good and always wise. He knows how to give good gifts to those who ask him (Matthew 7:11).


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