I love giving gifts to Sparkle, Twinkle, Shine, and Glitter, the pet names I have given to my grandchildren. But I do not give them everything they want.
Even grandparents need to use wisdom in gift giving.
My grandchildren enjoy the gifts I give them, but they want more. And they could have more if I were a different kind of grandmother.
As young children, this is the grandmother each one of them thinks he or she would like for me to be.
Glitter (girl, age 7 months): Give me a grandmother who doesn’t say “no, no” every time I reach for her eyeglasses, earrings, necklace, and wrist watch. Give me a grandmother who lets me have whatever I want.
Shine (boy, age 4): Give me a grandmother who lets me slay dragons, have sword fights with pirates, and walk on hot lava. Give me a grandmother who gives me super powers and makes sure I am always the winner.
Twinkle (girl, age 5): Give me a grandmother who lets me peel the paper off every crayon in the box, play as much as I want to in the flour canister, and trail strips of toilet paper through the whole house. Give me a grandmother who lets me make big messes that she cleans up for me.
Sparkle (girl, age 9): Give me a grandmother who lets me play games 24/7 on her iPhone. Give me a grandmother who doesn’t put limits on me.
We can excuse these unreasonable and selfish wishes from children who are still leaning and growing. But sometimes adults want more from the Supreme Gift Giver.
This is the God some people think they want.
Give me a God who says yes to all my requests, a God who gives me permission to enjoy activities, habits, and indulgences that His Word has labeled “off limits.” Give me a God who never says no to me.
Give me a God who keeps me constantly entertained. Give me a God who makes it possible for me take challenges, enter contests, and play in the big leagues. Give me a God who makes sure I am always the winner.
Give me a God who withholds unpleasant consequences from me. Such a God allows me to eat whatever I want to eat without getting fat, drink great quantities of alcohol without getting drunk, spend money recklessly without going into debt, and abuse other people without losing friends. Give me a God who protects me from consequences and cleans up my messes for me.
Give me a God who doesn’t make demands on my time, one who allows me to do what I want to do. Give me a God who requires nothing from me.
Just as a grandmother loves her grandchildren too much to give them everything they ask for, God loves His children enough to withhold some things from us. He promises to give us what we need and instructs us to be content with that.
People who want a powerful being who is indulgent and undemanding, one who protects them from all unpleasant consequences, cleans up their messes, and makes sure they always come out winners need to start looking for Aladdin’s lamp.
These people aren’t looking for God. They already have one.