An Appointment with Disappointment

We have a new mid-morning routine around here, and it looks something like this:

1. Child wakes from nap with snuggles and smiles. 2. Child gets out of crib and runs to pantry. 3. Child, through grunts and pointing, demands something sweet from candy jar hidden in said pantry, only to be refused. 4. Tantrum. Tantrum. Tantrum. Child back to bed for a time out. 5. Mom waits eagerly outside room. 6. After some period of time, child returns happily to the rest of the day.

Phin’s daily appointment with disappointment. It’s like clockwork these days.

I know his teeth and his belly and his temperament will thank me later. But he doesn’t know that. All he knows is that I have disappointed the deep longing of his heart: processed sugars. A parent who gives in to every heartfelt and earnest request from their child would be no parent at all.

In his Unspoken Sermons George MacDonald wrote a similar sentiment about God.   “A God that should fail to hear, receive, attend to one single prayer, the feeblest or the worst, I cannot believe in; but a God that would grant every request of every man or every company of men, would be an evil god – that is no god, but a demon.”

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I cave. I give in to his pleading and appease him with things I know are not best for him. It takes a strong love to withhold a desired thing that is not best at that time or ever. I am so glad that the Father’s love is much stronger than mine.

I would like to be upset with Phin for the new morning show he puts on, but I cannot. I am simply too much like him.  I think I know what I need, what my loved ones need, what the world needs, and I run quickly to ask those things of God. And that is all well and good, as a secure and loved child has confidence to ask freely and boldly. But when God disappoints my desires, I often pitch an adult, albeit internalized tantrum. In those moments, my heart looks upon Him with the same contempt and doubt that Phin throws at me in his pouty glares.


MacDonald continues, “This only I will say: God has not to consider his children only at the moment of their prayer. Should he be willing to give a man the things he knows he would afterwards wish he had not given him?...He will not deal with you as the child of a day, but as the child of eternal ages.

I am His child of eternal ages, and He alone can look over the landscape of time and know what is best. He will answer as He sees fit, according to His perfect knowledge and love.

I long to remember this perspective, but God and I both know that there will be days when disappointment is inevitable and the tantrums return. And on those days, He will wait for me to adjust to His decision and readily return to His presence.

Every time I come to Him, even on my most demanding and insolent days, I will get His presence, even if He refuses the extras. And time in His presence will leave me far from disappointed.

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