Photo A Day for Lent: No

This is Erin. She’s one of our after school ministry kids and an expert at the “no” face.

There’s a five year-old boy that comes to our after school ministry. Like some five year-old boys, he has a lot of ideas. Some of them are great–imaginative, creative, fun, exuberant! Some of them are not so great.

And so I’ll say…”NO!”

“I don’t like it when you say ‘no!'” He’ll shout back at me. “I only like it when you say ‘yes!'”

He’ll stomp his foot. He’ll run away from me. He’ll pout and cry. He’ll try to do what he wants to do anyway.

Wow. That looks familiar, I realized one day.

Not just because I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen quite a few “you told me ‘no!'” melt-downs in the last thirteen years.

And, to be honest, I’ve thrown a few, too.

No, not in the church gym or craft room.

In my heart.

“I don’t like it when you say ‘no!'” I’ll shout at God. “I only like it when you to say ‘yes!'”

I’ll stomp my foot. I’ll try to run away. I’ll pout. I’ll cry. I’ll try to do what I want anyway.

I don’t let my little friend do something that I know is a bad idea, or something that will cause hurt to him or to someone else. I’ll put him in time-out to calm down and then he has to talk to me.

“Why do you think I said, ‘no?'” I’ll ask him.

“Because you’re mean,” he usually replies.

Sometimes what he perceives as “mean” is actually me loving him and caring for him to the best of my knowledge and ability.

And so it is with God (who has no limit of knowledge or ability).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways, acknowledge God

and God will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6