Sometimes the boys would fight.
Sometimes the boys would get along.
Sometimes the boys were happy.
Sometimes the boys were sad.
All in all they were pretty typical siblings, best friends for sure (but they'd never admit it).
As the years went by they started having different interests. One of them loved to swim and hike and ride his horse. The other loved to read and write and invent contraptions to save the world.
The parents looked on and loved their differences. They loved the people they were becoming. They loved to see the talents and skills they had and appreciated who they were.
Yet, there was one slight problem that seemed to grow bigger by the year.
One of the boys was grateful.
The other was not.
The parents didn't understand why this difference existed. Why did one boy demand and expect things while the other boy thanked them for everything?
The parents tried to help the ungrateful boy see what he had so he could be grateful.
But this seemed to cause him to expect even more.
The parents were sad. Nothing they said could change their son's heart.
So, they just kept on loving and kept on hoping and kept on praying.
In the process, though, they saw a change in themselves. With the grateful son it was a joy to give him what he asked for. It was a joy to provide and see his smile. They wanted to give him the moon because it made them happy to see him happy.
But with the ungrateful son, they realized it gave them no joy to give him anything. For everything they gave him he expected it, demanded it even. And none of it made him happy. Sometimes the more the parents gave him the more sullen the boy became for he expected more and more. He felt it was his right.
But there was no joy in that right.
There was no joy in what he had.
This made the parents sad.
They continued to give the son what they knew he needed but it was never enough. And they realized their giving would never make the son happy until he could see.
So they just loved him and prayed for him as they did for their other son.
And the story begs the question: which child am I with God? Am I one who is thankful for everything He gives? Or am I the one who demands and pouts when I don't get what I think I have a right to?
As in this story, I think God must get so much joy out of giving to His children who smile and are grateful. The other side is probably true too -- we can make God sigh and be a bit sad when we think we ought to get something that He hasn't given us while we ignore all He has given us.