When our older daughter was about two, the Easter Bunny came to visit for the first time. A basket containing colorful jelly beans, yellow marshmallow chicks, and a chocolate Easter Bunny had magically appeared overnight!
Guess what she wanted for breakfast.
I told her she could have a couple bites of bunny after she finished a bowl of cereal. Tears, pleas, and pouting did nothing to change my mind.
Speaking about this years later, my daughter said, “I thought you were the most horrible mother in the world.” A pause later she added, “And when I’m a mom, I’m going to do exactly what you did.”
Of course to her two-year-old way of thinking back then, I had been unreasonable. The chocolate bunny was food, she was hungry, and it looked like it would taste good. Moreover, hadn’t a magical creature brought this precious gift just for her?
And then her mother makes her wait until she eats something else first. What a tyrant I was!
I think that’s how we sometimes see God the Father.
We know God is not a wishing well. He’s not likely to have dollar bills flutter from the sky when we’d like to be millionaires. But sometimes when He says “No” to our prayers, don’t you find yourself asking why? Don’t you find yourself thinking He’s being a bit unreasonable?
What if your child is deathly ill in the hospital and you beg God for a miracle . . . which doesn’t come? Isn’t healing the sick a good thing? Why then doesn’t God step in and do it?
It’s hard to trust that it’s all for our benefit. It certainly doesn’t look like it is. Aren’t you sometimes tempted to ask, “Why, God? Why?”
All I can say is Father Knows Best. He’s privy to information I don’t have and probably couldn’t understand even if I had it. He knows me better than I know myself, including how what happens today will affect my future.
St. Paul assures us that “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
All things? Even suffering?
According to St. Teresa of Avila, who suffered terribly during her life, “In light of Heaven, the worst suffering on earth will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel.”
All things? Even death?
“It is by dying that we are born to eternal life,” St. Francis of Assisi tells us.
It all boils down to trusting a Father Who wants nothing but the best for His children.
And sometimes that means waiting until we come to full maturity in Heaven so we can understand just why God refused us that bite of chocolate bunny when we wanted it.
I suspect that when we do understand, we will be immensely grateful.