Kids have a way of making us consider life and God in a way we’ve often forgotten. It’s so easy to “out grow” the simple but profound questions of childhood. Not long ago I was putting my daughters to bed and we had just such a conversation. (Of course it was at bedtime; they always happen at bedtime.) She’d been working hard at learning math without the ease she wanted, and it caused a theological dilemma.
“Dad, what’s it called when God just does something, like make someone better when they’re sick?”
“Yeah! Why isn’t it always like that? Why can’t I pray and then just know math? Sometimes I pray and nothing happens.”
Well then. My eight-year-old put her little finger on a question that will likely stick with her for all of life. It’s the kind of question that can’t be ignored and about which we can’t be apathetic. It’s a question I ask all the time, and it drives people to God or away from Him. Why isn’t God answering my prayer the way I want?
I used to work in retail, and just about every day I would see parents with out of control kids. The child would be running around, yelling, generally acting the fool, and what would the parents do? “If you don’t stop that we’re not getting this toy!” “If you keep that up there will be no French fries for lunch!” What would happen next? The child would, of course, not stop. The parent would, inevitably, buy the toy or the French fries anyhow. They simply couldn’t say “no” to their kids.
In fact, that’s why their kids were out of control. They got whatever they wanted. They could manipulate, strong arm, and generally dominate their parents. One strategic temper tantrum and that Barbie doll was theirs. The kids were in charge.
And that’s what we would be like if God gave us everything we wanted.