April 13, 2023

Be Careful What You Wish For...

Toddlers aren’t the best decision-makers.

Kay D. Rizzo
Photo by Kristin Brown on Unsplash

"Be careful what you wish for,” or, grammatically correct, “Be careful for what you wish.” Either way, we’ve all half-jokingly said it. And if one lives long enough, we’ve experienced it as well.

Weeks before the Schaghticoke County Fair, I campaigned to ride on a “real horsey” at the fair. I recall scrambling out of the family car onto the fairgrounds parking lot. I was so excited. Daddy promised I could ride on a real horsey.

At the horse corral I stared in horror at the size of the animals plodding around in circles with children seated on their backs. My father bought a ticket and lifted me onto one of the mangy creatures. I screamed in terror. “No! No!” I flung my arms around my dad’s surprised neck.

“Kay, what’s wrong?”

“No! No!” I buried my face in his neck. “I want to ride
a horsey!”

“But these are the horses.” My mother tried to pry my arms from my dad’s neck, but I clung to him with all the strength of a frightened 5-year-old.

“No! No!” I screamed. “I want to ride a horsey!”

As my father lowered me to the ground, he patiently inquired, “If these horses aren’t what you had in mind, can you show me the ones you’re talking about?”

Wiping muddy tears from my cheeks, I took his hand and led him to the twirling carousel. “Those horseys. I want to ride those horseys!”

Same Idea, Different Story, Lessons Learned

Be careful what you wish for . . . Years later my husband interviewed for a job in a seaside town—a beautiful place to live. While we waited for the committee’s decision, we walked along the beach and asked God to open the job to us. Like 5-year-olds we begged, cajoled, kicked, and fussed. He granted our wish. In less than a year the position dissolved, and we were desperate to know what to do next. Looking back, I see the troublous year as a monumental learning experience.

Be careful what you wish for . . . So, when our younger daughter, her husband, and our two grandsons moved four hours away, Richard and my first instincts were “Let’s move too.” But try as we might to sell our house, we couldn’t. This time, remembering our earlier fiasco, we resisted the urge to play the “toddler game,” and instead prayed through our tears, “Thy will, not our will. Your way, not ours, Lord.”

One year passed, two, three, five; we made the long drive north for visits. We couldn’t understand why God didn’t move us as we’d asked, until the bottom fell out of the housing market. Homes that were selling for $450,000 dropped more than half their value. Jobs dried up. If God had granted us our wish, we would have been so upside down in house payments that we would have lost our home and our peace of mind. Psalm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” God truly knows our hearts. His promise to grant us the desires of our hearts goes beyond our day-to-day whims to the inner core of our beings. God’s wisdom is greater than ours. Like a 5-year-old wanting to “ride the horsey,” we don’t always know what we want. What looks good or sounds good may not be so good. We see snapshots of our lives, while God views the entire video. So be careful what you wish for. He does know what’s right for you.