“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought…”
James 1:5-6 (The Message)
We have a policy in our house that our kids can ask us anything…anything! In fact, we want them to always feel comfortable enough to ask us anything. No topic is off limits. As a result, we had to come up with some guidelines about answering. A full explanation right then, an answer that is age appropriate to where they are developmentally, or a “this conversation will be answered, but not until you’re older because it’s an adult topic and needs to wait.” They aren’t always happy with that rule, but because my husband and I are united on that front, they don’t have much choice. We always try to answer questions fully that if left unanswered, they could go to another source such as friends or the internet to get what could end up being erroneous answers and confuse them further. But, answers to more personal questions, aren’t appropriate to answer always until they are a little older and seeing life through a more mature lens.
I started thinking about that and realized my Father does the same thing with me. He allows me, in fact, wants me to ask Him anything. Anything! And He also is in charge of how He answers: Right away, telling me just a little of the answer now and more of it later, or waiting until it’s more appropriate and I’m more mature and can handle the answer He’s going to give me. Whether that maturity is to handle a “no” response or that maturity was needed to grow before I would be ready for a “yes,” whatever answer He chooses to give is the BEST answer, despite how it makes me feel.
There have been times, especially over this past year, that I have fought the “wait.” I wanted to know the whole picture, I wanted the answer to my question and I wanted it NOW. But God doesn’t work that way. Just as I as a mother ignore my children’s temper tantrums, God knows it’s best to ignore mine. He knows that I’d be miserable with too much information too soon and it could be disastrous. He also knows so much better than I do in what areas I need to grow before I’m ready for the answer He wants to give me. Sometimes that answer is in the form of a blessing – a desire or passion being fulfilled. Sometimes it’s maturity that says, “I’m so glad God didn’t give me a yes to that answer because what He had in mind for me is so much more than I could have imagined.” Sometimes, it’s not even that spectacular or I never find out why He denied telling me something or…He gave me an answer but I never found out the why behind it.
I’ve learned a lot this past year. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is this: I can come to my Father with any question and He will always welcome me. I can trust my Father no matter what: when He answers on me on the spot, when He only reveals part of the answer, and when He says, “Later, my child, but for now you need to wait.” I won’t lie. The waiting is still sometimes hard, especially when I really, really want the answer. But, I’m learning, each day to give thanks for the “wait” as much as for the full answer.
My prayer is that my children can learn a little of what I’ve learned over the past year. They can always ask me anything, and I will always answer, just not always in the way they want. But it’s always with their best in mind and because of how much I love them.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015