When my children were younger they would often begin a conversation with the following question, ‘How much do you love me?’ I quickly learned that this enquiry was not a memory test, but rather because they were about to ask me for something and assumed that because I loved them I could not possibly deny them.
My observation over the years is that many people take the same approach with God, and when He doesn’t give them what they want, do what my children used to do – stamp their feet and turn away!
The experience of people in the Bible, however, paints a different picture. They knew they were loved by God, but they didn’t equate that with always getting what they wanted; far from it in fact. The Apostle Paul for one must have longed for an easy life but instead found himself beaten, flogged, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, starved and misunderstood, and all because he surrendered his life to a God who he knew was extraordinarily loving!
The thing is that God is not just loving, but also holy and sovereign. We make a great mistake when we assume that He exists to fit into our plans rather than the other way around. As my children quickly learned, being loved doesn’t mean always getting what you want.