What’s Good For Me

grilled cheese

Last week, Mark complained of a stomach ache and I ignored it. That’s because the kid has been clutching his stomach and moaning almost constantly for the past month. I know it’s my fault because he and I had a lengthy talk on appendicitis (a mistake I shall not repeat anytime soon). After weeks of clutching, writhing, and whimpering, I’d sort of stopped (ahem) caring. It just became a normal part of my day to hear Mark say, “My tummy REALLY hurts!”

(Raise your hand if you know where I’m going with this.) So naturally, it happened the other night at dinner. “Mom. My tummy REALLY hurts!” Without looking up from my soup, I said, “Then don’t eat the grilled cheese.” And naturally, he ignored me. Because it’s grilled cheese, and grilled cheese is amazing. He gobbled it down and went back for more. And I let him. (Although I did give him the Don’t Complain To Me Later speech.)

Ten minutes later he “loudly complained” into a bucket, and I was gracious enough not to say “I told you so!” (Plus, Nathanael covered that quite thoroughly for me.)

And so began three very looooooooong days of Mark’s convalescence. The first day he didn’t think about food, but after his stomach was completely empty his every thought was obsessed with how to fill it up again. Not that I blame him. But I knew he wasn’t ready. We tried jello, toast, and soup. But he wanted what the rest of the family was eating. He wanted hamburgers, green beans, waffles, orange juice. And every time I said no, he wailed, “It’s not fair!”

At first, I was patient. I said things like, “Mark, you just have to trust me. I know what’s best for you and I know it will only make your tummy worse if I give you that.” (And Nathanael would pipe in with, “Remember what she said about the grilled cheese!”) And I said things like, “I’m doing this because I love you. I want you to get better.” But Mark didn’t care, of course. He only wanted what everyone else had because it wasn’t fair otherwise.

Around Day Three, my patience wore thin. I was frustrated that he wouldn’t trust me on this, especially when it was so obvious that I knew better than him. My answers became less loving and more because-I-said-so! And by then Mark was feeling better, sleeping through the night, and well on his way to recovery. Good thing, too, because a more ornery, disagreeable person never existed…unless that person is me.

You see, I’ve been struggling a bit lately.  I want something that God is saying no to. (No, it’s not a baby!:) But I’ve been praying and asking Him to give me this thing, and He has withheld it from me. Until Mark got sick, I stubbornly refused to believe that maybe it wasn’t the right thing for me at this time. It didn’t occur to me that God, Who knows what’s best for me, might not give it to me because it could hurt me. And yet, I kept praying and asking, “Please, please let me have it! It’s not fair if You don’t!”

I think He used the situation with Mark to teach me how simple this really is. To remember the promise that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Not only will things work out, but they will work out for my good. His purpose- always-  for me is only good, only love. He knows if the decision is left to me I will eat the grilled cheese every time.

My prayer then changed. It became, “This is what I want, but if it’s not Your will please help me accept that.” And that’s exactly what He’s done for me. He said no to my request. It’s done. But He hasn’t left me without comfort or blessing. He gave me a heart to trust that it’s okay. He gave me a heart to know He will always do not only what’s good for me, but what’s best.



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7 thoughts on “What’s Good For Me

  1. Debra, I constantly think about where I could be right now I my plans always went the way I wanted them to go…and how I much I would be missing out on. I wouldn’t be in South Carolina, I would have never met Whitney and I wouldn’t have this incredible little girl. I can’t even begin to fathom how bad off I’d be if I always got the grilled cheese in life…because God has always had this amazing picture of what my life would be and instead of giving me what I deserved (hell) or even just want I wanted…gave me all this. BUT, he does tell us to be that annoying neighbor who is constantly bugging Him until He finally gives in just to stop the incessant bother…to constantly come to Him in prayer. To ask for what we want…if it is His will. So don’t stop asking simply because He hasn’t given it. Maybe the answer is just, “Not yet.”

    1. Very well said, Philip. Although now my prayer has changed from asking for what I want to asking for faith. And that’s something I both REALLY want and won’t stop asking for! (Thanks for leaving such an encouraging comment!)

    1. It makes for a good story, I guess, now that all is back to normal. But, oh man, it was NOT fun around here this past week! I’m sure you have many such stories about your kids. 🙂

  2. Thank you for this post. This was exactly what I needed to read. I am really struggling right now because of my mom’s poor health, and I’ve been praying for God to heal her. I realize that she might now get better – she might get worse. I need the faith, also, to trust God’s plan for my mom and for me. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” Please give Mark a big ole hug from me and Bill. Grilled cheese is absolutely my favorite food, and I have a very happy memory of being in Destin, FL, and seeing a Grilled Cheese food truck! The perfect food truck!

  3. Oh, Ann, I’m sorry to hear that your mom is having some health problems. I’ll join you in prayer for healing and trust. I say that passage all the time in my prayers, “…help my unbelief.” I don’t want to doubt but it comes so naturally. It’s a consolation to know that God knows my heart better than I do.

  4. Love this post, and boy can I relate. My youngest daughter tended to be a bit of a hypochondriac growing up, so I learned not to rush her off to the doc every time she complained. My unthinking auto response became, “Go lay down and rest. You’ll feel better in a little while.” Well, the last time that happened it turned out the poor kid had kidney stones! I felt horrible! She was in serious pain and I kept telling her she probably just had to poop! lol I learned my lesson.

    Your comments toward the end of your post reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses, Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

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