Unanswered prayers to teach a lesson

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Commentary by Heather Kestian

The other night, while I was tucking my oldest in bed, he asked for it never to rain again. He was tired of rain after four days of rain. Oh boy, here we go.

I immediately fell into the question trap: “Why don’t you want it to rain ever again?” Like most children who love playing outside, he gently reminded me that he cannot play outside on his swing set or in the sandbox if it is raining. I assured him that I realized that small problem. He then asked God not to let it rain ever again, as his bedtime prayer.

Hold the phone, kid. Before you go asking God to stop the rain, let’s talk about this request because here comes the proverbial “be careful what you wish for” lesson from mom. I like to think I am getting good at these teachable moments.

We had a good discussion about what the rain means for our planet. I asked him to remember what last summer was like outside. He vividly remembered that he had to wear shoes all the time outside (could anything be worse?) because the grass was “pokey.” The lesson here: rain is good as it makes our grass green. I also asked him to remember our strawberry patch. It was fairly barren because of a lack of rain. He remembered that he did not like having only two or three strawberries at the end of the day when we picked strawberries.  Instead, he liked the big, ripe, juicy strawberries. How do you feel about having fewer strawberries, young one? At this point, he agreed that rain was a good thing. Parenting victory!

But wait, it gets better.

Being the little innovator he is, he decided to come up with a caveat to his prayer. “Dear God,” he said. “Please don’t let it rain this weekend.” He looked so proud of himself for thinking this through so carefully. Then he said, “God is listening, right?” I replied, “Yes dear, he is always listening, so be careful what you ask for.”

After tucking him in, reading some stories, failing at teaching the life lesson for the day, and turning off the light, I left his room. I had my own conversation with God that was quite apologetic. “Lord, I have no idea where I went wrong. Please let it rain this weekend. I have a hands-on learner in this house.”

 


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