Have you ever intervened in an argument and stalled telling your children something spiritual until you could think of something spiritual?
The other day, Bethel was playing with brick blocks, large cardboard blocks that are remarkably versatile play objects. The only trouble is that we don’t have a large amount of them.
David decided to make something, too, but by the time he had started building, Bethel had three more blocks than he did. So he started to cry. Now Bethel had already resigned herself to supplementing her blocks with the hardwood kindergarten blocks, but David wasn’t interested in kindergarten blocks. He lost sight of his goal (building a stable) and could see only the inequity of the block distribution.
I tried to gather my normally unorganized thoughts together into something coherent and persuasive. David was obviously being selfish, but that line has been getting overused. Perhaps if I had been renewing my own mind on this matter, I would have been better prepared to respond quickly.
I did pray, and God helped me think about Paul. I asked David “Can you be happy with fewer blocks than Bethel?” He paused crying enough to tell me no, and then climbed next to me to mope.
I racked my brain. Learning to be content? No, I don’t know the reference. Philippians 2? Maybe. What about Paul and Silas in jail? I bet David would understand that.
So I turned to Acts and found where Paul was still Saul and persecuting Christians. I read about what Paul was like before he got saved, and then I turned to Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were put in prison. I asked David if he though Paul and Silas could be happy in prison. David knew the correct answer was yes, but he obviously didn’t understand how that could be.
How could they sing? It was God’s grace in their lives. I took the time to point out that David needed salvation and God’s grace to be able to rejoice when he didn’t get something he wanted. On our own, we cannot reach God’s standard. It is impossible. We prayed together.
And once again, in recounting a discussion with my children, I see what God is teaching me. How often do I fret because I don’t get my way? Can I be content in any circumstance? I need God’s grace.