Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise ye the Triune God"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 7:11 – If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (NIV)
When I was a child, I longed for a bicycle. I grew up in an English town long since swallowed up by London. Because of the traffic, my two younger brothers and I were restricted to the backyard. I wanted a bike so that I could visit my friends. They all lived on council house estates — rows of post-war houses built on child-friendly streets, sharing the space in front and surrounded by grassy areas for games and sports. Everyone rode a bike and experienced much greater freedom than I.
In my last year of elementary school, my dad promised me a bike if I passed the national 11+ examinations. The results determined our future. Failure resulted in secondary school, then a trade, or for girls, a job in a shop until they married. A pass meant that we would attend a grammar school and eventually choose a career.
I often wonder if Dad expected me to pass, but pass I did. However, a bicycle was not forthcoming. My eleventh birthday was in August; surely, I would receive it then. But my hopes were dashed. I never understood why. We were not well off, but a bike would save money on transportation.
Two years later, my oldest brother passed the 11+, and received a bike. Obviously, there were different rules for girls and boys. My heart burned with envy as I watched him ride carefree with his friends. Perhaps, I was being protected, but I was convinced that my parents were keeping me prisoner.
Another two years passed, and my youngest brother also received a bike — not for passing, but for his effort. The injustice hurt! I had almost finished high school. I determined that when I started working, I would save for a car. When I was 18, I shocked my family by purchasing a used car with cash. Shortly after, I announced that I was moving to Canada.
I always wanted to travel, yet I never connected that dream with my wish for a bike. Recently, I read today's passage in Matthew and wondered yet again why a parent would withhold something that provides confidence, responsibility, exercise, and friendship. This time, I asked God.
My very next thought was that if I had owned a bike, I probably would not have come to Canada. That revelation gave me such joy! I could finally let this go.
God does not give us everything that we want, because He knows what is best for us. We can trust God. He has a plan for us!
Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)
Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You for wanting what is best for us, and for wanting us to be the best that we can be. You may never reveal the reasons why we do not receive certain things, but help us to trust that it is only for our good. Amen.