Hollywood and the hooligans of our day have taught me many lessons on the meaning of the word "entitlement." The former just expects it, the latter likes to steal and terrorize for it. I can't fail to point a finger at myself too. I find the irritation bug bothering me in traffic, in lines, in the drudgery of unpaid labor--all because of an unspoken, and unrighteous belief that I deserve free flowing freeways, short-lines or ample compensation. This is quintessentially American, I suppose. A sense of entitlement, elevated to the level of vice by constant, tireless efforts of the will.

Large and uncontained, entitlement follows me also into prayer. I find myself asking "Why do you not answer me, O Lord?" Of course, what I should be asking is whether my prayer is pleasing to God, not whether his answer is pleasing to me. Who's the Creator and who is the creature anyway?

As for the answer about unanswered prayers, this Sunday's reading offers an important insight into how God works for our benefit by giving us what we need even when it's not what we want. Is that not what a loving Father does? If Veruca Salt's father (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) had done likewise she might not have been judged a "bad nut" and thrown into 3 weeks-worth of backed up garbage.

Heb 12:5-7, 11-13 "Brothers and sisters, You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him;for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;he scourges every son he acknowledges.”Endure your trials as “discipline”;God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?At the time,all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet,that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed."


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