In an experience common with many parents, yesterday I couldn't do enough for my kids. I didn't pack enough lunch, didn't bring the right snack, didn't fix the right dinner and was too mean to let them stay up late enough. When I finally got them off to bed, it was with a great sigh of relief that the day was done. Looking back on my day, I know I did my best but my kids just wanted more, more, and more. How often do we have this same attitude with God? He gives us so much and many of us are still so unsatisfied with what we get.
When I was little I loved trips to the grocery store when my mom would give me a quarter to put in the red prize machine. In went my quarter, a turn of the knob, and out came a random prize. Sometimes it was just what I wanted and other times I would be so disappointed with what I got that I would go back and hound my mom to give me another quarter to try again. She never gave me another quarter. Instead, she would always tell me to be happy that I got anything.
Last November a very close friend of mine was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Her cancer was extremely aggressive and by the time they found it, it had already spread to her bones and liver. Our entire church and school community united in prayer. Through God's grace, she was able to participate in a clinical trial at UCLA for a new breast cancer wonder drug. Today, the large tumor in her breast is gone, no surgery is needed, and there is no trace of active cancer. However, she will never be declared NED (no evidence of disease) because of scarring on her skeleton. Potentially, this cancerous "scarring" can reactivate and require her to undergo more traditional chemotherapy. But, when she was first diagnosed, we never imagined that she would be as healthy and happy as she is today. Even though some may think we didn't get a complete miracle (declared NED) she is nonetheless truly a walking miracle. Whether she lives 38 more years, ten more years, or one more year, I can thank God everyday that she is here today. God did answer our prayers and we need to remember that.
We often treat God like a great big prize machine. I am going to put in x number of prayers and I expect to get the perfect prize. But, just like those grocery store machines, God doesn't always give us exactly what we want. Because, like a parent with their child, God know what we need better than we do. Our children may want ice cream for dinner, but we know they need something more substantial. And we, like our children, may throw tantrums and get angry for not getting exactly what we want. Today, instead of harping on what we don't have, let's all take some time to thank God for everything we do have.