No, Jack (or No, Rich)
A couple of weeks ago, I heard a reference to the book, "No, David!" If you have kids, or if you work with them, you've probably heard of it. It's a story about a little boy who gets into everything and how his mom corrects him all the time. I thought about how I do that with my 15-month-old Jack. Whether he is trying to eat the dog food, stand on the furniture, or unplug things from outlets, I seem to say, "No, Jack," quite a bit.
I was at a church meeting the other day, and someone asked how Jack was doing. I said he was getting big and that he's becoming very ornery and getting into everything. The person then said to me, "Not much different than us?" I chuckled and agreed with him, but I immediately began to think about that statement in a spiritual sense.
How often do I act like Jack when it comes to my spiritual life? Is God looking at me and saying, "No, Rich!" sometimes?
Although I would love to say the answer to that question is no, I'd be fooling myself. Unfortunately, there are times that I try to do things that I think are good for me, and God, knowing what's best, tries to correct me. I tell Jack "No" so that he doesn't hurt himself. God does the same thing to me through the Holy Ghost. He doesn't want me to get spiritually hurt by making a poor decision. He wants me to listen to Him because His ways are always the right ways.
There are several people in the scriptures who we can point to as examples. Moses (striking the rock rather than speaking to it in Numbers 20:2-13), David (his lust for Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11-12), and the Brother of Jared (not calling upon the Lord for four years in Ether 2:14-15) come to mind. In each of these cases, the Spirit was telling them "No," but they acted in their own ways. There were consequences, just as I experience them when I fail and just as Jack experiences them when he doesn't listen.
However, just as the book "No, David!" ends, a repentant son (or daughter) hears the words from his parents or Heavenly Father, "Yes, I love you."
P.S. Happy Veteran's Day!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.