Her tiny rosebud lips snapped open and a scream sliced through the steady hum of restaurant convrsation. "Let me down! Want to play!"
How could such a cute little girl produce that racket?
Flailing her chubby legs against her mother, the little cherub commenced to throw what we used to call a fit. Her curly hair slapped her face as she shook her head. Once pretty features contorted into a grotesque mask. She pounded her mother with her fists.
Did everyone in this line feel as uncomfortable as I did? I shifted uneasily from one foot to the other and glanced behind me at the waiting customers. Normal chatter had instantly stilled. Many stood with mouths gapping open, some averted their gaze. Children stared, or blinked, faces at once looking amazed and terrified. One little boy covered his ears.
Surely this woman would take the child outside. Strangers should never be subjected to those ear-splitting shrieks. Instead, the mother tightened her hold around the little girl's middle and stared at the ceiling. Was she praying or had she abdicated her responsibility as disciplinarian and gone to her happy place?
The younger man in the party of four mumbled, "Let me find you a game to play." He lowered his head to fumble with his cell phone.
The older man searched his pockets. "I don't have any more quarters."
Gaze still fixed on the ceiling, the mother's flat voice floated over the din, "She doesn't need to play any more. She can't win what she wants and it just makes her madder."
Time stretched to a near eternity while the bellowing continued. I wanted to grab the child and run outside with her.
Abruptly, the older man turned and pushed through the line toward the door. Sensible. Get out while you still have your hearing. Another couple and a famly of six from behind us in the line followed him. Still the mother allowed the out-of-control behavior to continue. That kicking must hurt by now.
When the man hurried back into line, he pressed a handful of quarters into the little girl's hand. "Here," he huffed, "Go play."
"You always give in to her," the mother objected. But she plopped the little girl on the floor anyway. The screaming ceased and the little girl headed to the game machine area. The silence that followed them was palpable. I expected applause and cheers, but most people simply looked relieved.
Unfortunately our reprieve was short lived. We were only a few feet closer to the front of the line when the mother dragged the shrieking child back in line.
I rolled my eyes. Here we go again.
The child had won a blue and red ball. She wanted the ball to open. It would not. She hurled it on the floor and demanded that her father (I assume that's who the younger man was) get it for her.
Could this situation get any worse? I wanted to scream, "Just take her outside."
After another eternity, the four left. The toddler continued her spoiled rantings all the way out.
Reflecting on this painful and--seemingly interminable incident--I wondered how often my demands of God sound like insistence that He accomodate my every whim. People, situations, things, and experiences quickly bore or disappoint. Money, clothes, remodeling, food, time, affection--whatever I simply can't live without at the moment--I never get enough. Sadly, the boundary between needs and wants has blurred to unrecognizable. Dissatisfaction is a societal malady, endemic to our culture and often a gateway to sin. Advertising execs capitalize on our decadent desires. The government indulges us. But, as Americans aren't we entitled to more? Raise the minimum wage. Provide free healthcare and subsidize aliens and people without enough income. (Not to be political, just emphasizing our national obsession with More.)
The thing is, God created that void in our hearts. Nothing but More God can fill it. Psalm 107:9 declares, "For He satisfies the longing heart, and the hungry soul He fills with good things." Again in Psalm 16:11 the psalmist promises, "In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." No need to search anywhere else. God wants us to long for relationship with Him. He delights in satisfying our hunger with Himself.
How about you? Are you searching for love in all the wrong places? Does discontentment permantly pout your countenance? Consider this solution today: MORE GOD. Only God can fill the hole in your heart. He alone can satisfy the craving heart.
In my book, THE ROAD TO TERMINUS, George Stanton craves greater wealth, prestige, status, and image to satisfy his longing heart, but acquiring only leaves him in a chronic state of disappoinment, wanting more. With his discontentment reaching its zenith, he is forced to leave his accumulation behind and flee across country along Route 66. A chance encounter with two strangers changes everything.