"But I've been praying and praying to go fishing with Sam and his dad," David said as he tossed the ball to his father. "And I've even hinted to Sam that I want to go. Why won't God answer my prayer?"
Suddenly a loud squeal of brakes split the air. Crash! David and his father raced around the side of the house. Doors slammed and people came running from all directions to see what had happened. Down at the corner of the block two cars had crashed into each other.
David felt his father's hand on his shoulder. He looked up and asked, "Dad, what happened?"
"It looks like one of those cars went through a red light," his dad answered. "The driver must not have been paying attention. Or maybe he thought it would be okay for him to disobey just this one time. He should have stopped, but he didn't."
"Wow, what a mess!" David said. "Look at the side of the blue car. It's all smashed in and the window is broken. And the other car looks even worse. I hope nobody is hurt." He and his dad watched as a police car pulled up. An officer started to direct traffic around the two wrecked cars.
David and his father walked back to their house. They sat down on the steps of the back porch and were quiet for a while. Then David said, "That was a pretty bad accident, wasn't it, Dad?"
"Yes, it was," said his dad. "That driver should have stopped for the red light. The traffic signal was placed there to help protect people from accidents such as this. You know, Son, a little while ago you asked me why God won't answer your prayer. I think He has answered you and you just weren't listening. God probably said no."
"But what's the problem? Why wouldn't God want me to go fishing?" David asked. "There's nothing wrong with fishing! I can't see why He would say no to me."
"No, there's nothing wrong with fishing. There's nothing wrong with driving a car either. But the man who went through the red light knew the traffic signal said stop, and he didn't obey. Now he probably wishes he had. That signal was put at the corner for a good reason.
"We don't always understand why God says no to us, but we can be sure it is for a good reason too. And God doesn't always say no to some people and yes to others," David's dad continued. "Did you know that once He even said no to His very own Son, Jesus? It was the time when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus ended His prayer He said that He would do whatever God wanted, even if God said no to Him. Aren't you glad that Jesus obeyed?"
Our text for this lesson relates how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked God to spare His life if it were God's will, yet He was willing to die if necessary. God answered Jesus' prayer with a no because God had a plan by which to save sinners. We realize this subject must be handled very gently with a child. If your child is afraid of the subject of death, stress that God said no to Jesus so we could all go to Heaven. Everything in Heaven is perfect, and everyone there feels good and is happy all the time.
Try to help your child see that sometimes God must answer no when we ask for something. He knows what is best for us. To illustrate this, tell some simple stories on your child's level: a mother's response to a child's wanting to cross a busy street alone, to a child's requesting a bowl of ice cream right before dinner, etc.
Pose some hypothetical situations and ask your child to provide a response for them. Help him see that the answer cannot always be yes.