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Father Knows Best

“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.”

Jim Elliot

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was “Father Knows Best.” The story line was centered around a father named Jim Anderson and his family. Whenever his children needed advice on anything at all, they could always turn to their father, because father knows best.

Periodically, when my kids were young, they would ask for things that may not have been beneficial, such as having cookies right before dinner. Being their Mom and having their best interest at heart, I would have to tell them no. Of course they were disappointed and may not have been too pleased with me at the time, but I needed to do what was best for them.

Does a good heavenly Father give his children everything they want or does He withhold things because He has their best interest at heart? Does God know if He says yes to each of our desires, at times it would be to our detriment? What if something you passionately desire undermines your relationship with God and causes a breach in your intimacy with Him; would you still really want Him to say yes to you?

When I was nineteen I sought the advice of an older woman to know whether John was the one God wanted me to marry. She wisely asked me if my relationship with John pushed me closer to the Lord or if it dragged me away from Him. Fortunately, my earthly romance with John only strengthened my heavenly romance with God, and as they say, “The rest is history.”

What desire consumes your prayers? Is it a particular job, ministry, or position? Is it wanting to be married or to give birth to a child? If God said yes, would it weaken or strengthen your relationship with Him? What if what you desperately desire will become such a big idol in your life, consuming you so much that it draws you away from the Lover of your soul? Would you still want it? Would God be a good Father if He gave it to you? Would He still have your best interest in mind if He affirmatively answered your prayer?

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul who entreated the Lord three times to remove the “thorn in his flesh,” but God said no. And yet, in II Corinthians 12:10, Paul not only comes to the place of acceptance, but he says he is “well content.” I wonder if God knew that answering Paul’s prayer with a yes would be like throwing dirt on the fire of Paul’s love for Jesus, snuffing out his passion for the Lord, while wiping away any need for dependence on Him. Was God’s answer in reality, an act of loving protection?

In Psalm 37:4, we find one way to prevent disappointments and release great contentment. “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Delight means to “take great pleasure in,” or “to give joy or satisfaction to.” When we find our satisfaction and contentment in God, then all else in life is like the cherry on top of a delicious hot fudge sundae. It tastes good, but isn’t necessary to have. When we delight ourselves in God then we will be content with what He gives to us, what He allows or doesn’t allow in our lives, for He is all that matters.

I have a young friend who desperately desired to be married and found herself heart-broken in a relationship that had ended. Her pursuit shifted from going after a relationship with a man to pursuing a red hot love affair with the Lord. Take a guess what happened when what mattered most to her was an intimate relationship with Jesus. Yep, you guessed it. God gave her a godly husband who loves and adores her. But what if God said no to her, that He wanted her all to Himself? I believe she would have been content with Jesus as her husband. Still desiring a spouse? Probably. But content nonetheless.

God is most passionate about your relationship with Him.  Being the good Dad that He is, being the Father who knows best, how will He answer your prayers of what is the utmost highest in your heart?

I don’t know why God says no sometimes. But this I do know: Father knows best and in that I find my rest.

“Man finds it hard to get what he wants because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give because He would give the best and man will not take it.”

George MacDonald

Relevant Reflections:

1. What one thing do you really want God to give to you? If He answered yes, would it weaken or strengthen your relationship with Him?

2. Describe a time when God said no and you now realize He had your best interest at heart.

3. What does “delighting yourself in the Lord” look like to you?


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