My three year old had a hard lesson this morning. About a week ago, he’d taken a “Go-go Squeeze” apple sauce packet and indulged. I told him then that at some point in the future, he’d not be happy that he took it.
Well, that “some point” came this morning, when I made our usual weekday oatmeal and I told my oldest son to get their “Go-go Squeeze” packets, and he informed me there were only two left. I couldn’t just give one to my youngest, to appease the storm I knew it would cause, because that’s not fair. So I stood my ground as he was screaming and crying and telling me I didn’t love him, and stomping his feet.
I told him to go to his room until he could calm down, and so off he trudged. When he finally said, “I’m ready to calm down now,” I pulled him up on my lap and we had a little talk.
“_______, you remember that you took a go-go squeeze off the counter that one day? I saw you do it. If you hadn’t taken it, you would have had one today. This is your fault, you need to own up to it and admit it.”
Mournfully and repentantly crying, he said, “It’s my fault!”
With tears in my own eyes, I said, “Yes, it’s your fault. When we take things instead of being given things, then when we want something it’s no longer there to give. But it’s okay, I’ll get some more this week, and you can try again.”
How true is this lesson for so many of us. We haven’t learned that it is better to receive than take. G-d is our Father and he gives us everything we will ever need, but when we are immature and impatient, we can be prone to taking matters into our own hands and taking before the appointed time He had chosen to give us that thing, whatever it may be.
The result is that sometimes we miss out on the blessings we would have had if we’d only waited for Him to give them to us. Instead, we may see others being blessed and gifted with those things while we stand by and watch them enjoy what we want, but had taken prematurely, those things that we took that came to nothing, because G-d’s Spirit was not backing us up, supporting us, empowering us to do the task or fulfill those desires.
When we take instead of receiving we are trying to be in control. We are refusing to recognize that G-d is sovereign; He is in control. And so, when we should have been blessed with a gift, our gift is deferred, until He sees that we are ready, ready to begin again, ready to receive, ready to recognize His sovereignty, ready to recognize Him as the Giver.
It’s a hard lesson, but one we all have to learn, one that we will all have to learn again and again until we “get it”.