What do you do when God says “No!” to your prayer? Are you like an 11 month old? Sit down and cry when the answer is a NO? Or are you like a two year old? Throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream ‘cause you didn't get your way? Or are you adult about it and know that your Father knows best?
This week we had a big No! No matter what we thought, no matter what we wanted, no matter how much we told God what we wanted and thought we needed, and had many others asking Him for us—His answer in the end was a big No! His answer to our prayer was disappointing. His answer was definitely not what we had been hoping for. Parents that say no to their children should mean what they say and stick with their answer. Children learn to not trust their decisions as final, that enough fuss might get them a different answer. But earthly fathers are different from our Father who knows us and loves us far beyond what earthly fathers can and do. And for that, we respect and trust God's answer to our prayers.
Yes, this week we received a No answer. And we are OK with that. We are accepting that He has our best interests in His heart. We kind of wanted to sit and cry about it. We could have thrown a tantrum and demanded a different answer. We didn't!!! We tried to act in a way that respected our Father and what He thinks is best.
The short story is that Garry has had a job with our local school system for 23+ years. He has driven big yellow buses, vans, and cars. Much of that time, he spent driving various school vehicles taking students to school and taking them to their homes and taking them on other excursions. He has had preschoolers and regular middle school students and handicap students. More recently, many of the students have had emotional and social and behavior issues. Many of the trips with the kids were an hour of the student's morning and again in the afternoon. And he has had 1 student, sometimes 2 and lately 3 students. When the students are in the vehicle for an hour trip twice a day, there is lots of time to interact with them. Some of the students became friends, some needed correction, some made him laugh, some made him sad and a few were so frustrating that his attitude was not so good when he arrived home.
One 13 year old student often came to the school vehicle angry and shouting some mornings because his father had told him No to what he wanted. The attitude on the school van was not pleasant. Later in the day, this same student would arrive back home and see that his father was home from his job and immediately he would be overjoyed to know that the Father was home and could see him. Finally, Garry told this 13 year old to think about how he had reacted to his father in the morning, compared to his reaction at night. The student must given that some thought as his reactions changed dramatically. We will be glad to see our Father when we get to our heavenly home, despite the NO’s we have been given. Because we know the NO’s were given because of love.
Garry has always felt that transporting kids was a ministry and he found it a challenge to find ways to witness to the kids of God's love and care and to do that with carefulness since he was working for a public school system. Careful to not offend students with no spiritual inclinations, careful to not go against regulations. The radio has been his friend for sharing Jesus with his students. The students have asked for Christian music. They have asked for the Your Story Hour stories. They often shared their distresses and problems. He never expected to have 1 to 1 counseling sessions. He never expected to have appreciation by parents for the growing improvement in the attitude changes.
But now this part of our lives has come to a stop due to health reasons that the DOT feel are unacceptable. God's answer to our prayers of being able to continue this ministry that was also benefiting us with some financial means is a No. Yes, we both are sad about that. We also know that God knows best what we need. We know that He will continue to guide and provide and give other ministry opportunities.
If He does it for us, He will do it for all. For He loves us all unconditionally. Just as Garry has told his students—that He loved them all unconditionally. But that he just didn't love some of their actions. And God does not love some of our actions either and the choices we make. He loves us anyway! I am so glad that His love is Unconditional!