My two year old is being nearly insufferable this morning as only a two year old can. As usual, her daddy fed her breakfast with her older sisters, started my coffee, then, after I've stumbled downstairs, he left to take the older two to school and himself to work. Almost as soon as they're out the door, she starts hitting me up for second breakfast. (Yes, we're raising a hobbit--she likes her seven meals a day). "I wan cer-a! I wan raisin ban! I wan pizza!" Loudly. Demanding. Until she lands herself in time out. When she gets up, she's back at it. "I am not giving you Raisin Bran," I say. I'm thinking, I don't want to clean out yet another bowl sodden bran flakes which she's abandoned after picking out all the raisins. "Look. I'm going to have a bagel in a minute. You can share some of my bagel."
So I slice the thing and set it toasting, and immediately the litany turns to "I wan bag-uh! I wan share!" We've drilled all our kids in the forms of good manners, so on auto-pilot I say, "May I have some please?" This is the cue for our kids to repeat what we've said in words and tone, and they get what they want. But the toddler's not having any of it this morning. "I wannit!" I give her The Look. Sullen, "Peez."
"May I have some, please?"
"I wan share!"
"have some please?"
"Wannit! I wan share!" Remember, she's already eaten this morning and this is my breakfast we're talking about.
Round and round and round we go, until I hear myself yelling, "If you say, "May I have some please," I will give it to you! But you need ask right!" And I think of this verse.
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:2b-3)
And all of a sudden it just all snaps into focus. At two years old, she has her pride. She doesn't want to ask my way. Is this what James means? I've heard intelligent adults try to figure out what's the right way to ask? What magic formula do I need to use to get what I want? Doesn't God say if I ask I can have? I want to get what I want! But maybe what God's looking for is for us to humble ourselves a bit and remember that we don't have as much of a God-given-right to whatever it is that we're demanding as we think we do. But he's still delights to share breakfast with us.
We compromise finally on "May-I-peez?" and I give her the bagel. She nibbles at it some and abandons it, mangled and soggy at the table, to go look at books. But at least her mood is improved. I'm left shaking my head, wondering how many of the things we demand of God are things we don't want that much, that are going to be abandoned, mangled and sodden within minutes or months of our receiving them. How many of those things he delights to give us anyway. Truly, our Heavenly Father is gracious to us.