Who’s in charge? This is the ultimate question; a question that comes up over and over in this world. It was the first question in the Garden of Eden and it’s the same question at your house. Every person, every child, will seek to answer that question. We think we want to be in charge of us; to do whatever is right in our own eyes; to go where we want to go, to pursue any relationship we want; to never be told “no,” or made to do things we don’t want to do. Paradise (we think) is in our own hands if only we can be in charge.

Of course, being in charge of ourselves is the equivalent of being our own attorney; we have a fool as a client. We’re not really capable of being in charge. Two-year-olds, five-year-olds; fifteen-year-olds; twenty-year-olds, even sixty-year olds all think they know enough to be in charge of themselves―just ask them. Parents, pastors, teachers, and ultimately, God doesn’t understand us or our circumstances, but, of course, we think we do.

Loving someone is giving them what the need, not necessarily what they want. God has told us “no” at many points, not because He doesn’t love us, but because He does. Parents and others in authority do the same. When we are told “no,” it often makes us unhappy. We might even pitch a fit. We might go to great lengths to manipulate those who are telling us “no,” in order to get what we want. There are a host of inventive methods used to accomplish the self-serving ends, including deception, anger, threats, guilt, etc. True love holds firm. It’s willing to suffer in the moment in order to attain the ultimate good of the object of love. Giving in to the fit or the manipulation might appear to bring temporary relief but in the end it destroys everyone; misery, sorrow, shame, and sometimes regret follow in the wake.

Thankfully, God is in charge of us and He wisely put others in charge of us. Loving parents, teachers, pastors and others who are willing to stand in our way―to keep us from always getting our way―who can see further than us, and who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the objects of their love. I am so thankful for parents who not only often told me “no,” but who made me do many things I didn’t want to do but were the very things that were good for me. They were willing to look beyond the moment (even though I was not willing to do so). Now I can see what they saw. Now I am thankful for those that God put in charge of me; what a blessing!