God can and does change His mind.
Abraham and Moses showed us how talking to Him can do it. David’s heart after God caused a stark shift in how people could interact with the Lord.
When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane “not my will but yours be done”, He was recognizing this characteristic of His Father. What the fleshly Jesus wanted, He could have had. I fully believe that the Father would have worked with Jesus to find another way. But in the end, Jesus submitted.
Don’t believe me? Well, it happens in your life every day. As you make plans and decisions about your life, the Lord, actively engaged by you or not, is working with you to fulfill His purpose in you. This requires an ever-changing dynamic of relationship.
People believe that, in His omniscience, God simply knows everything we will do and plans ahead accordingly. Scripture and your everyday experience show a different, a more relational, God. One who is moved, bends to hear, seeks to inquire, dies to save.
There is a story Jesus tells about a persistent widow. An unrighteous judge finally grants her requests so that she won’t wear him out. Most readers see this as an encouragement to nag the Lord in prayer until our request is granted.
The story is really about the character of the Lord. If an unrighteous judge changes his mind when faced with persistence, how much more our Father with His children?
My daughter Meghan is the poster child of persistence. When she locks on to something she wants, especially from her mom and I, she is unswerving in her pursuit and terribly creative until she has her prize.
There are times when I have not given her what she asks. Other times, I identify with the unrighteous judge and succumb to her commitment. But as I ponder my relationships with all my kids, there is one thing that moves me much more than all of their nagging.
THEY move me. WHO they are is my favorite thing about them. And when they are passionate, when they are committed, when they are focused, I am drawn to bring to their aid all that I am.
Does their tenacity always get them what is best? No. But the lesson is in the persistence, not in the prize. I want my kids to see the value of going after something. Following their heart always nets positive results for them.
Soft, tender hearts are our goal. A will that bends to the Lord is more valuable than the most miraculous gift. The more resistance a child encounters, the more hardened their hearts can become. We’re not pushovers. We engage, listen, consider, discuss.
Our kids shouldn’t meet an immovable wall when they come to us. Though not perfect in our parenting or judgement, we love them deeply. It’s love that covers a multitude of sins.
And so it is with our Father.