Timothy Shay Arthur, 1852
"When sister was ill, and you were so sorry, mother — why did you not pray to God? — would he not have made her well?"
"Perhaps not, my child."
"Why, mother, would not God have heard your prayer?"
"Yes, but he might not have seen fit to grant such a prayer, if I had been disposed to make it."
"If you had been disposed to make it! Mother, did you not wish that sister might get well?"
"Certainly I wished it; but I wish still more that what God sees will be best for me, and for those I love, may happen — because I know that God is ever striving to do us every possible good, and he might have known that it would not have been either for my real good, or your sister's, to grant such a prayer. Why did I not give you the cake which you wished for yesterday?"
"Because you thought it would make me sick."
"And yet you wished very much for the cake. And you know that I love you, and would like to grant you any enjoyment that is good for you; but you do not know so well as I do, that to grant some of your wishes would be hurtful to you. Now, God watches over our spiritual health and happiness, with far more love and care than that with which the tenderest parents watch over their children. He knows and grants what he sees will promote these, and he withholds that only which he knows would do us harm. Remember, then, my dear little boy, that the Lord knows what is good for us, and is always ready to give it. Our prayers are needful, therefore, only to make us feel and acknowledge our constant dependence upon him, and to express our grateful sense of his continual goodness and our humble submission to his will."