I was just putting my kids to sleep when my daughter reminded me that I had promised her three grapes. I told her to stay in her bed while I went downstairs and got three grapes for her and one for her little brother (who probably would have put up a big stink if he hadn’t received a grape as well). When I rounded the corner to her room, grapes in hand, I noticed that she had gotten out of her bed. I heard her little feet run like mad to jump back into bed before I came up the stairs.
When I got to her bed I asked if she got out of her bed, she told me that her brother was screaming so she had to get out (not a valid reason). I told her that because she disobeyed mommy’s directions that she could now only have one grape, to which she responded with a very large temper tantrum and fit. I remained very calm (which isn’t like me at all in that situation) and just let it play out. Since she started throwing a fit I told her that she couldn’t have any grapes.
And as I was sitting and patiently assisting my daughter through this ‘trial,’ I felt like the Lord was giving me a picture of myself with Him at times. E kept saying, “But you promised me three
grapes; you need to give me three grapes,” to which I would respond, “E, since you disobeyed mommy’s directions you don’t get to have any grapes. But if you can be thankful for one grape, you may have one.” She totally would not take it. Maybe it was a bribe on my part, but I really felt the Holy Spirit showing me that at times He may have promised something, and when I remind Him of His promise He is more than happy to make good on it. But then I go and disobey a simple command, and He responds with only a portion of the fulfillment of His promise. And instead of being thankful for just a portion, I kick and scream and get offended that I didn’t get what I was promised.
Isn’t it like us, literally as children, to not be thankful for what we receive and instead get offended and belligerent that we deserve more? I know that my tendency is to just keep asking for more from God instead of truly having a heart of thankfulness toward Him for the things He has
entrusted to me, provided for me, and fulfilled for me.
I did give E one grape, and as she was chewing on it her countenance changed. She was thankful for that grape, but I could tell that it was a little bit because she wanted more and not a heart of true thankfulness. If she would have been repentant for her disobedience, apologized, and sweetly (sans whining) asked for more grapes, I probably would have rushed downstairs and grabbed the whole bag for her. But I wanted to teach my daughter a lesson, one that I feel the Holy Spirit was teaching me at the same time: God loves to give us good gifts, but in His Righteousness He cannot bless disobedience. Now, I am not saying AT ALL that I am righteous, but I felt like the Lord was painting that picture for me. He is a Righteous and Holy God and He cannot in his nature, without betraying everything He is, bless disobedience. Because of Christ He can love us and bless us. But He’s not going to be opening the floodgates for those who aren’t living a life of surrender and obedience toward Him.
So, my sweet little girl got a taste of heaven tonight. When she wakes up tomorrow I’ll talk with her through what happened tonight, and bless her with a whole bowl full of grapes. But for tonight, I’ll sit and think about the ways that I’ve been asking God for more-and-more-and-more and not having a heart of thanks for all that He has given me.
What about you? Are you neglecting the thankful heart? And only reminding God of the “more” He’s promised?
*Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_15534444_hand-holding-fresh-red-bunch-of-grapes-in-the-vineyard.html