“Why, God? Why?” Lana cried aloud in her room. “What did I do to deserve this?”

Lana threw her middle school yearbook at the wall. So much for her dream of dating Daniel. She liked him since the sixth grade! The way he smiled at her; the way his brown eyes glistened in the sun; the way he told really stupid jokes just because he knew they’d make her laugh. But what she liked most of all was his innocence, his excitement about walking to Sunday school with her.

But now, they were in high school. He replaced the Bible with porn magazines. He replaced excellent grades with excellent football games.

Lana knew that he changed. In some ways, she knew that they both changed. But for some reason, she still looked at him the same. They knew each other for 8 years, but never dated. Daniel never dated. Suddenly, he attracted all of the cheerleaders, one particular “goddess” named Tracey.

Every day at school, Tracey would flaunt “super” short dresses to expose her “super” long and toned legs. Her “shiny” blonde hair would blow in the wind. She was like a stereotypical model, a clone of Paris Hilton. She was so pretty, even girls in heterosexual relationships fell in love with her.

Every time Lana saw Daniel approach her at her locker, she could just hear that Taylor Swift song “You Belong with Me” playing in her head.

And she knew that she literally was that pathetic nerd on the bleachers watching her “Dream Guy” go for the…well…slut. Allowing herself to watch them kiss was like attempting emotional suicide.

Every night after thinking about Daniel, Lana would cry to God, begging him for the chance to be with just that one guy. That was all she wanted.

The night she finally got angry and threw the yearbook at her wall, her father heard her and knocked on her bedroom door.

“Lana! Honey, what’s wrong?” he asked. “Is there something you want to talk about? Did something happen at school today?”

After hearing her father’s concerned voice, she quieted down. She knew how much she needed to talk to her loving father about this. But how would he understand? He was old.

“Everything’s fine, Dad!” she lied, crying now. “I’m gonna just…do my homework.”

Letting out a sad sigh, her father said, “I have chocolate cake.”

Suddenly, this caught Lana’s attention.

“Okay!”

She came out of her room and hugged her father. They went to the kitchen to eat cake, and right after Lana finished her piece, they went into the living room to talk. Sitting on the sofa, Lana told him everything.

“I just don’t get it, Dad! Why did Daniel change so much? Why is he dating Tracey? Why is God trying to punish me like this?!”

Her father held her in his arms the way he did when she was little.

“He’s not trying to punish you, Honey. He’s creating room in your life for someone better.”

“But what about Daniel? Why did he change like this?”

Her father took a moment to think about how to answer this question.

“You’re in high school now. You’ve been meeting lots of new people. You’re growing up and deciding who you want to be. Unfortunately, for Daniel, that means making different kinds of friends.”

“Lots of friends,” Lana pointed out. “I miss being his ‘best’ friend.”

“I know you do. God knows you do. But He has new friends for you. He has big plans for you.”

Lana thought about this.

“So…He’s not really punishing me? He’s…”

“He’s providing new things for you, new friends and experiences,” her father said. “You just have to be yourself and find your true friends. God will bless you with opportunities to find love. Just trust him and pray.”

Lana smiled.

“Thanks, Dad. Will you pray for me?”

“Yes. Would you like to pray together now?”

“Sure.”

They held hands and prayed together for a long time. After they prayed, Lana’s father pulled a Bible from the bookshelf. He turned to Jeremiah and highlighted a few verses.

“I always find love and hope from Jeremiah 29:11-12. I think these verses will help you, too.”

Lana read the verses out loud.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.'”

Lana cried at these words.

“Thank you,  Dad. I love those verses,” Lana said. “I feel a lot better after talking to you. I’m gonna go do my homework now.”

“Good,” her father said. “If you ever want to pray together again, let me know.”

Lana nodded and went to her bedroom. She read Jeremiah 29:11-12 over and over.

As she drifted off to sleep that night, she realized that her father was right. God wasn’t punishing her at all. He was blessing her with love and wisdom from her father.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/punishment/

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