Gumballs and Other Gifts

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By Nate Champneys


As a father of three young children (ages 6, 4, and 2), God often teaches me and parents me through the experiences with my own children. I wanted to share a recent lesson with you.

I try to take my children on regular “daddy dates.” On daddy dates, I get alone time with each of my kids and get to focus on connecting with just them. Sometimes we go to the park and play on the playground; other times we go to a restaurant. One time we went down to the creek and made paper boats and sailed them down the creek.

But their favorite place is the dollar store. Once in a while I take them there and let them pick one item.

If you want to test your patience, try taking a 4-year-old little girl to the dollar store and tell her to pick just one thing! It generally takes about 20 minutes, and it usually ends with us standing in the checkout line … then her deciding that, after 20 minutes of going back and forth, she would rather have the item right there in the checkout line. It’s funny; I often have to coach her past certain items or even tell her “No” when she chooses an item, because I know that, even though it is what she wants at this moment, it will break quickly, or she will not enjoy it as much as another thing. Sometimes she might say, “But, Daddy, I really want a gumball from the machine!” So I’ll reply, “I know, honey, but look over here — instead of getting just one gumball, you could get a whole bag of gumballs!”

The last time this happened, it occurred to me: “I wonder if this is how God feels, as He listens to us pray?” We beg Him for something that He knows will not be good for us, or He has something better that He wants to give to us instead. We can get so upset because we are not getting the thing that we think that we want, when the reality is that our Father in heaven knows exactly what we need and is also a Father who loves to give His children good gifts.

Is there something that you keep asking God for that He has not yet given you? Perhaps you are asking for a gumball, when He knows that, at the back of the store, there is a whole bag of gumballs He would like to give you!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

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2 thoughts on “Gumballs and Other Gifts

  1. One of my favorite Rich Mullins ‘ lines is from “Growing Young”. He confesses, “I’d rather fight you for something I don’t really want than to take what you give that I need.”

  2. What we REALLY need is usually more of the Holy Spirit in our daily life. That is why Jesus said, “Your Father in Heaven knows how to give good gifts,” in the context of asking for His Holy Spirit. When was the last time we asked for more of the Holy Spirit to settle upon our lives?

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