My family recently moved. Before the move, a friend of ours, let’s say Jane (to protect the innocent) came by with her son Billy (yes fake again). Her son Billy and my son Jonny are friends. We were looking at an apartment around the block from their house. Billy was happy because he’d be able to see Jonny more. I asked Billy to pray for us to get that house.
Jane tells me the next day that they all sat down that night and prayed for our family to move into that apartment. She said that her two oldest sons, Billy being one of them, prayed that they want Jonny to move in so they can come over and play with all of Jonny’s toys and Legos. Jane then finished off the prayer with a less selfish prayer, the type of prayer an adult would pray, the whole “let your will be done” thing. This has been stuck in my head for a few days so I decided to share what I’m thinking.
I don’t believe God doesn’t always want us to ask him to do what he wants to do. He knows what he’s going to do regardless. I believe that God wants us to pray to him and tell him what we want, what we need. Several times throughout scripture we are called children of God. Jesus says in Matthew to become like a child to enter his kingdom. Why? I think because children will say what’s on their mind, and ask for what they want, they wear their emotions on their sleeves. At some point in growing up, we lose sight of this. We become “mature” and fight back emotions, manipulate people and lie (playing politics) to get what we want. God doesn’t want that for us! As a father myself, it would drive me nuts to always hear my kids say “whatever you want to do” and never tell me what they wanted.
I do believe that God wants us to be like children who simply know who our father is. We can whine and complain and ask him for everything we want. He’s our daddy, and wants to know what’s on our hearts. As we mature in our relationship with Christ, much like maturing in life, our hearts change and we begin to realize that whining to God that I didn’t win the lottery is just plain silly. We begin to realize that there are things we don’t need, but we want them so we don’t ask God for them any more because it’s not a need.
I want a new car, specifically the 2010 Taurus SHO. It is a b-e-a-utiful car, but has a ridiculous price tag (at least for me). The model below it will do just fine. It will get me from point A to point B, heck a 20 year old car that runs will do that. But I want it, it is not a need, but I want it. So, being the mature adult that I am, I don’t ask God for it because it’s silly. My current car’s lease is up in a few months so I will be in the position of getting a new car. Will it be the SHO? I doubt it. But you know what, I want to act like a child and complain to God about it, I want to let him know what I want, and I may even stomp my feet. How many times have you felt like this? How many times did you actually do it? Do it! He can handle it!
God can handle our temper tantrums. I encourage people who say they are mad at God to let him know it! Yell at him, tell him what you’re feeling and what you want. Act like a little kid and tell him everything. My God is bigger than me and my complaints. He’s bigger than you and your issues. All he wants is to be our daddy, so lets treat him like one! At the end of the yelling, learn to shut up and listen. Grab the Bible, read; take a long drive alone with the radio off; go for a walk; whatever it is, just go and wait on him. Just like having a real dad, we need to give God the chance to respond to what we said to him. No, he won’t slap you across the face or ground you for what you said. He will answer you, I guarantee it. And this is where maturity comes in.
As we mature in our relationship with God, we learn to listen after we complain and we wait. God has two answers, Yes or No. As children grow up they begin accept the No answer from their parents. Sometimes there might be a little push back “but pleeeeeeeeease dad” and the answer is still no. Accept it and move on. This is sometimes hard, but God does know what is best for us. Being a dad myself I see this metaphor of God being our dad so clearly. There are many times I say no to my children for their sake. They don’t realize it, but it really is for their good.
God’s other answer is yes. This can be the real frustrating one! God can say yes to our prayers, he can even give us promises of things to come. The frustrating part is that whole time thing. Know that old joke:
A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. “God”, he said, “how long is a million years?”
God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.”
The man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?”
God answered, “To Me, it’s a penny.”
The man then asked, “God, can I have a penny?”
God said, “In a minute.”
God may say yes, then we have to wait and be patient. My son asks to play Wii all the time. I will say yes, but not now, after dinner, after homework, after you clean the room, etc. It frustrates him because he wants it now and I said yes. How many times have I done that with God: you said yes so I went ahead and did it. I forgot to then ask God, when? I need to learn to wait more. I hear God saying yes a lot and I always jump on the first sign of it coming true. I recently had an issue (I’ll blog about it later once I completely understand it myself) that God said yes, and I jumped on something that I thought was awesome and it ended up hurting me, my family, and friends. So now I’m playing catch up and trying to undo some of this so I can move into what God said yes to. So much fun being human.
Pray like a kid, whine and complain, pout and throw your temper tantrum. Just let God answer you when you’re done.