Big Daddy is watching *

If God promises us that if we believe we will have whatever we ask, why do so many of us believers come away empty-handed? We pray fervently for healing or a job or some other genuine need, and we know God is able. We remind him of his promise and tell him that we believe. But the job and the healing never come.

I don’t presume to know exactly why God doesn’t give us everything we ask for in prayer, but I do know that God does not tempt nor tease; he doesn’t lie and always keeps his promises. So the problem must be either that we misunderstand the promise, or what it means to believe.

There is a reality that is taught in the New Testament particularly, that I believe is core to our understanding of faith. It’s that God is our Father and we are his children. Jesus taught this, as did the writers of the Epistles. What’s more, Jesus said if we don’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child, we won’t enter it.So, what does this mean?

Certainly, God doesn’t want us to disregard knowledge we’ve gained and experiences we’ve had and ignore our commitments and responsibilities and spend our days on the playground. Our behavior should not be childlike. But our attitude should.

Jesus said “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”2  So, humility is a key component of childlikeness. But a child is not humble in the sense of thinking himself not as good as his little classmates, or having an absence of pride. A child is humble because he is unashamedly dependent on others, instinctively recognizing his place in a relationship as the one who must be cared for and who must defer to the one providing the care.

And a little child unquestioningly trusts her father. She doesn’t have to think about it, she just knows that he’s going to take care of her. Witness the reckless abandon of a one-year-old being thrown up in the air by her daddy. Look at her face – there’s no hint of fear, just joy and delight.  You know she’s not repeating to herself, “Daddy will catch me. Daddy will catch me.” For her daddy not to catch her when she is so completely trusting in him for her safety would be an unthinkable wrong.

It’s the same with God. When we are trusting in him with the innocence and abandon of a child . . . the kind of faith that doesn’t question or wonder “if”. . . he provides and protects because he would be remiss not to. It would be a blot on his character and reputation if he failed to catch his trusting child before she hit the ground.

This doesn’t mean that God never heals, protects, nor provides for the one whose faith is not childlike but forced. Just that he doesn’t have to. He is bound, in a sense, to properly care for his children who are depending on him.

So, what about those trusting children who do end up injured or ill, or feel like they’ve landed head first on the pavement when a loved one dies or tragedy strikes? Does that call God’s parental love or his ability to protect into question? Unfortunately, in a world marred by sin, God must allow some of his children to suffer as chosen instruments in his plan of restoring mankind to himself. We need not look any further than the Cross to see that this is true.

But nevertheless, I believe the more we can let go of our worries and need for control, trusting that our Big Daddy is taking care of us, the more we’ll see the evidence that he absolutely is.

1Mark 10:15

2Matthew 18:4

*This is a repost from May of 2012.