I love donuts. They’re like tacos. I mean, is there ever a day I DON’T crave them?
The answer to that is, “NO!”
They’re delicious. Gimme all the carbs and sugar. (That I’m no longer allowed to have…moment of silence)
The only person I know who loves donuts more than I do, is Malachi. He wants to own a donut shop when he grows up. And that’s been his thing for years.
One of my favorite donuts? Powdered sugar with raspberry filling – The only kind of filled donut I’ll eat – and the only kind Malachi wouldn’t try. Ever.
We’ve been trying to get him to try them forever, knowing he’d love them.
He didn’t believe us.
We bought some a few weeks ago and as I finished mine (well, my 2nd one if I’m being honest) he said,
“Mommy, you’re making that look good. I almost want to try one!”
“Do you want me to get you one?”
“No, that’s ok. I’ll just have a bite of daddy’s.”
“And of course you think daddy will just share a bite with you?”
And then the thought ran through my head, “well, if that won’t preach, then I don’t know what will.”
Malachi had zero hesitation, zero concept that the answer could have been no. Maybe daddy didn’t want to share? Inconceivable. (Princess Bride, of course)
He had all the confidence in the world that his daddy would share all the good things with him. He is loved. He is secure. He is happy. He knows that his daddy would never deny him when he asks for something like that. It never crossed his mind that daddy would ever say no or not share his treat with him.
“Daddy loves me and what’s his is mine.” That’s the mindset he lives in.
If he needs a meal, it will be provided. If he needs new shoes, pants, jacket, it will be provided for him. If he wakes up afraid or sick, he can come wake daddy up and he’ll be there for him. No complaints, no second guessing. He just knows it as a fact and lives in that place of contentment.
When do we stop living in that place?
We know that God loves us, we know he’s a loving father. We know he’s a provider, a healer, a friend, the lover and creator of our souls. We know it in our minds, but there’s a disconnect somewhere along the road of life between our minds and our hearts and we have no longer reconciled that we are loved and God wants to give us good things. He wants to share all that he has with us. He wants us to be content in his love and in His plan.
And just like a good father, sometimes God has to tell us no. When something is going to hurt us, when it’s not what’s best for us, when it’s going to cause heartache and pain. But it’s always done in love.
And just like a good father, sometimes God has to bring discipline and correction into our lives. Never in anger, never to be mean, never to make us unhappy and miserable, always, always for our own good.
What Malachi understands at 10, most of us cannot understand and grasp as adults.
When do we begin to lose sight of the goodness of God?
When do we begin to see him as ugly and mean and out to hurt us and take away all of our fun and inflict pain? When do we begin to view him as the bully in the sky that enjoy watching us suffer?
How do we shift from believing with everything in us that God is so good, to questioning whether He’s really for us? How do we begin to wonder if he’s against us? How do we begin to think of Him as a man that is removed from us and our feelings and loves to mess with us?
Maybe it’s when things begin to seem unfair.
When life begins to hurt.
When we begin to lose people and things that mean so much to us.
When people turn their backs on us, leave and abandon us.
When we lose our jobs.
When finances are too tight for too long.
When nothing seems to go right.
When we get sick and the doctors don’t have answers.
When we pray for things and those prayers seem to go unheard.
When we desire something that seems so good with our whole heart and it seems to be denied to us time and time again.
When we spend hours crying out to God and feel like we are doing everything right and everything still goes wrong.
I don’t know the answer for you. Maybe it was a slow slide into despair. Maybe your world was turned upside down all at once and your faith was shattered.
I know for me, it was years of pouring into a relationship that was irrevocably broken, and coming to terms with the fact that that was going to have to be ok. Even though it hurt and, in my mind, it couldn’t possibly be God’s plan for my life, there was still a good plan in place and all I could do was continue to move forward and begin to accept the next step and the next and the one after that until I found that I had walked right into my healing and what God was holding for me in his goodness and mercy and grace…a life that I could never have planned or imagined for myself. A life that I would’ve missed out on had I continued to hold on to my past and my hurt and my bitterness.
God had something so good for me.
I just had to believe. I had to believe that even in my sin and ugliness and my mess, he was still good. And he still loved me unconditionally. And I was still good enough for him to call me his own. I was enough being completely helpless and surrendered to him.
I had to ask – and trust – that whatever the answer, it was for my own good. Whether I liked the next step or not, I could trust it.
My prayer for all of us: Lord, make us like Malachi again, with that child-like faith. Let us trust in your goodness and grace even in our failures. Let us believe again – or maybe for the very first time – that whatever good thing you have, you want us to have and will joyfully share with us. And when you say no or bring correction, it’s BECAUSE of your love and your mercy. Never are you a bully.
He is such a loving father and the most faithful friend.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way…Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:2-4, 17-18 (MSG)