Heidi, by Johanna Spyri is indeed a classic, full of little "take-home" gold nuggets. The excerpt I have for you today does not need a story or lesson to accompany it. I think I'll just leave it untouched for your enjoyment! To provide a little background, Heidi has been taken from her home in the Alps with Grandfather, to Frankfurt, to become a companion for Clara, a wealthy little girl who has some physical problems. Although she is living in great opulence, with everything she could possibly want, Heidi misses her Grandfather and her home. She longs for her little bed in the hayloft.
Heidi starts to pray that God would allow her to go home, and has been praying for this same thing for weeks. Here is where we pick up our story ...
"But still Heidi never looked really happy, and her bright eyes were no longer to be seen. It was the last week of the grandmother's visit. She called Heidi into her room as usual one day after dinner, and the child came with her book under her arm. The grandmother called her to come close, and then laying the book aside, said,
"Now, child, tell me why you are not happy? Have you still the same trouble at heart?"
Heidi nodded in reply.
" Have you told God about it?"
"And do you pray every day that He will make things right and that you may be happy again?"
"No, I have left off praying."
"Do not tell me that, Heidi! Why have you left off praying?"
"It is of no use, God does not listen," Heidi went on in an agitated voice, "and I can understand that when there are so many, many people in Frankfurt praying to Him every evening that He cannot attend to them all, and He certainly has not heard what I said to Him."
"And why are you so sure of that, Heidi?"
"Because I have prayed for the same thing every day for weeks, and yet God has not done what I asked."
"You are wrong, Heidi; you must not think of Him like that. God is a good father to us all, and knows better than we do what is good for us. If we ask Him for something that is not good for us, He does not give it, but something better still, if only we will continue to pray earnestly and do not run away and lose our trust in Him. God did not think what you have been praying for was good for you just now; but be sure He heard you, for He can hear and see every one at the same time, because He is a God and not a human being like you and me. And because He thought it was better for you not to have at once what you wanted, He said to Himself: Yes, Heidi shall have what she asks for, but not until the right time comes, so that she may be quite happy. If I do what she wants now, and then one day she sees that it would have been better for her not to have had her own way, she will cry and say, `If only God had not given me what I asked for! it is not so good as I expected!' And while God is watching over you, and looking to see if you will trust Him and go on praying to Him every day, and turn to Him for everything you want, you run away and leave off saying your prayers, and forget all about Him. And when God no longer hears the voice of one He knew among those who pray to Him, He lets that person go his own way, that he may learn how foolish he is. And then this one gets into trouble, and cries, `Save me, God, for there is none other to help me,' and God says, `Why did you go from Me; I could not help you when you ran away.' And you would not like to grieve God, would you Heidi, when He only wants to be kind to you? So will you not go and ask Him to forgive you, and continue to pray and to trust Him, for you may be sure that He will make everything right and happy for you, and then you will be glad and lighthearted again."
Heidi had perfect confidence in the grandmother, and every word she said sunk into her heart.
"I will go at once and ask God to forgive me, and I will never forget Him again," she replied repentantly. "
I do hope you enjoyed that excerpt. All thanks to our omniscient and sovereign God, who knows exactly what His children need!