A few months ago, my husband was encouraged to interview for a promotion. He wasn’t sure getting it would be the best for our family or his ministry, but he went through the process. When someone else got the job, he wasn’t too disappointed and honestly, I forgot all about it. Until the other day. The man who got the promotion instead of my husband was laid off after years of loyal service. The entire level of management was gone and those people no longer had jobs.
What we could have viewed initially as a disappointment, we now realized was actually God’s way of protecting us from a season of unemployment. It wasn’t God trying to deny us a blessing of higher pay or more power, but rather loving protection of our family.
Your children will be disappointed in life. If they view God as some giant Santa Claus or magic genie in the sky, they may transfer that disappointment to God. It’s extremely important you teach them four important principles about God and disappointment.
- God is in control. Faith is not just believing God exists. It is understanding God is wiser and has more knowledge than we have. God knows what is going to happen in the future. He knows what is really on the hearts of people. He knows what is best for us. His motive is to have us with Him in Heaven for eternity. He loves us more than we can even comprehend. Your children need to learn to trust that when God says “No”, He absolutely knows what He is doing. “No” from God is always ultimately in their best interest – even if they can’t understand why yet.
- God’s goals are focused on eternity. Sometimes God says “No”, because somewhere in that answer is an opportunity for someone to decide to make changes and follow God. It may be your child or it may be someone else. Living in a fallen world, where God has given all of us free choice, means sometimes your children won’t get what they want because someone else did something evil. God is still working in that situation. Your kids need to understand that they may be sacrificing something they wanted (let’s face it, many of our requests are wants and not needs) so someone else gets an opportunity to learn and grow towards God. God’s priority will always be getting as many of us to Heaven as He can.
- God may be protecting your child. Sometimes God says “No” because granting the request is ultimately not in our best interest. Why? Your children need to learn God could be protecting them from any number of things and they may never know what bad thing could have happened had God granted their request. Or, like my husband, they will absolutely understand why at some point in the future.
- God may have something even better, but perhaps different in mind for your child. God may not grant your child’s request, not because there was anything wrong with the request, but because God has something even better in mind for your child. Sometimes having the things we want prevents us from moving into new, better areas. Teach your kids when God says “no” to start looking to see if God opens another door for them to replace what they feel they have lost. Our daughter was upset when an injury forced her to “retire” from a favorite activity in high school. Yet, the new opportunity God gave her better prepared her for her future. She can look back now and is thankful God said “no” even though at the time she mourned the answer.
Your children may be disappointed or even need to mourn when God tells them “no”. That’s fine. Teaching them these four principles though, will help them move beyond the temporary pain and understand God’s answer does indeed mean He loves them.