In less than a week, our hearts were fully committed to this kindergartner and his infant siblings. And in less than a week, they were gone. When I told the kindergartener he was going to a grandparent’s house, his response was humorous: “Well, she takes good care of me … she lets me have whatever I want!”
Wise parents are more aware of the fact that sometimes NOT giving a child what he wants is actually more loving than giving in to his or her requests. One day, this child will become and adult and will not get whatever he wants. Better to learn this as a preschooler than an adult. It’s easier for parents to be at peace and say “No” with the long term view in mind.
But what about when the long term view isn’t in play? How can you feel at peace saying “No” when the long term consequences are completely outside of your grasp?
We recently felt this struggle when DSS called on Wednesday night around 10 (two preschool boys), and on Thursday afternoon around 2 (two toddler girls). We tried to say “Yes” but ended up saying “No” on both accounts. There was no long term view to give us guidance on these issues, and there was no time to “pray it over and get back with them” either. Yet in the wake of our decision, we’ve received a sense of peace about saying “No” in these situations.
What was the driving theological truth for us? The reality that God is sovereign and we are not. While we “feel God’s pleasure” when we practice foster care and know that He has called us to do it, we are also driven by the reality that God doesn’t need us. Failing to keep these realities in tension will lead us to exhaustion and depression on one side, or laziness and depraved indifference on the other.
Sometimes a view of God’s sovereignty will lead us to say “Yes,” while other times it will lead us to say “No.” Peace comes resting in Him, not our efforts, regardless of the answer.