Can’t Have My Way

When I Can’t Have My Way

My son is an only child. That being said, he’s used to having time, care and attention lavished on him by both parents and two sets of grandparents plus a host of extended family members and friends.

Every once in a while we have to say “no” and then we see a totally different side to his personality.

His beautiful sunny smile slips away and he goes into sulky mode. Oh he’s pretty subtle – he doesn’t stomp and yell but he becomes monotonic or syllabic.

My son is an only child. His behavior when denied led me to dig into my behavior when I can't have my way

His body language becomes dejected or reluctant but if you ask him he’s “fine”. His behavior has led to some introspection:

  • How do I react when I can’t have my way?
  • What character traits am I revealing?

Am I speaking to the converted? Who wants to introspect with me? Ready? Here we go!

When we are petulant after not getting our way, this is what we’re saying:

  • I’m right and you’re not.
  • I know what’s best for me, you don’t.
  • I deserve to get everything that I ask for.

Let’s look at it another way: when we ask God for something and the answer is “no”, how do we react?

Do we accept His decision graciously?

Do we react petulantly and selfishly?

Do we disregard His answer and do what we think is best – even if God specifically said, “Don’t”?

Saul’s Defiance

There’s a man in the Bible whose reaction to one of God’s commands had a lot to say about his character. The story of Saul and King Agag is found in 1 Samuel 15:1-30.

God informed Saul through the prophet Samuel that all the people and possessions of Amalek were to be destroyed. Their sin was so great before God, He told the children of Israel to destroy everything.

Did the Israelites understand God’s reasoning? Maybe not.

Is it a requirement for us to understand His reasons before we obey? Definitely not.

And that’s why I think it’s important for us to look at Saul’s response when he was caught in his disobedience and Samuel called him on it:

And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt.  He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 

But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them.

But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

Do we accept God's decisions graciously?

Sound familiar? No? Look at what Saul said to God:

I’m right, you’re not. I know you said King Agag should have been killed, but I think you’re wrong. I know you said destroy everything, but I know you really meant only the things that were of no value should be destroyed.

I know what’s best and you don’t. Even though you are King of the Universe and can see time for all eternity, I can think of a thousand reasons why King Agag should not be killed right now.

I deserve to get everything that I ask for. While it may be true that I didn’t do exactly as you asked… I still think I deserve to be blessed. In fact, don’t treat me any differently because I want to keep my prestige in front of my subjects and friends.

No wonder God turned His back on Saul and selected David – a man after His own heart. But here’s a question: is our behavior more like Saul’s or David’s?

Are we able to accept the correction of God? Or do we behave like spoilt, petulant children?

There’s another thing I find interesting about this story – did you notice that they kept the best things they found in the land?

They chose the fattest calves, the sheep without blemish, the perfect cattle … do we choose the “best” of what God has earmarked for destruction and keep it for ourselves? Scary thought, isn’t it?

It sure scares me. Because it means that what God had intended for me can’t come to me because I’m full up with stuff He never intended for me.

It would be like God wants to give me this great treasure, but I couldn’t accept it because I didn’t have any hands free. I was too busy holding on to the trash that I thought was so beautiful.

What fool’s gold are you holding on to today?


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