“I don’t need protein!” This declaration was made by my daughter one evening as she vehemently opposed eating her chicken.
In retrospect, I should have known better than to try and get her to eat her chicken by telling her that she needed the protein, but the statement was out before I thought it through. Everyone else had already finished eating, and my daughter was sitting there telling me all the reasons why she was unable eat her chicken. Her reasons ranged from the “fact” that her stomach didn’t feel good, to being full (even though her supper plate was basically untouched), and finally that she just wasn’t hungry. They were all the normal reasons a child would come up with for not wanting to finish their supper.
As my daughter was over the age of 2 at the time, she was well past the tried and true airplane trick. So, I decided to try a variation of the method I used to convince my boys to eat their spinach. I was able to get my sons to eat spinach by selling them on the idea that it helped make them stronger, just like it helped Popeye. I was so convincing that they wolfed down their spinach and then proved their strength by attacking me as soon as supper was over. This tactic, however, failed with my daughter. I thought maybe if she understood that her body needed protein she would at least down a couple bites of chicken.
Her response was clear and concise… “I don’t like protein!” I assured her that she wasn’t actually tasting that protein, it was just one of the benefits of eating her chicken. (Again, by this point, I should have realized that this was going nowhere, but I persisted.) I told her that her body needed protein and it would help her and make her strong. She then assured me that she did not need protein. She was fine without it. She made this statement with full confidence. In her eyes, she truly thought she knew best what her body needed and what it did not.
I started to contemplate showing her some pictures of malnourished children or what would happen if she didn’t get protein. However, before I got that far, I came to my senses and realized this wasn’t going to help. Needless to say, supper lasted quite awhile for her, but she did finally eat some chicken.
As I reflected on the evening and my failed attempts at parenting and reasoning with a toddler, I was reminded of how I often react to God in the same way my daughter reacted to me.
How often do I act as if I know what I need better than God does...that He should listen to me and that I know what I need? When He tells me that certain trials are for my good, how often do I respond by saying, "I don't need trials"? I try and convince Him that I don’t like trials, that I am just fine without them. I am fully convinced that I know what I need. However, when I live like this, I am living in a short-sighted way. I am acting like I know as much as our Heavenly Father does. I am acting like my daughter, speaking confidently about things I don't really know.
God is sovereign; He works all things together for good (Rom 8:28). He uses trials and hardships for His glory and our growth (1 Peter 1:6-10). He knows what is best, and I need to trust Him and listen. Now if I could only get my children to do the same....