Is God really being silent?
There’s a reason why God uses the word “Father” so much in trying to help us understand who He is, and how we are to relate to Him. Few things in life resemble this dynamic as well as parenthood. I learn so much about my own relationship with God by observing simple, everyday interactions with my children.
For example, my almost-four-year-old, Thaddeus, has gotten into the habit of repeating himself a lot. These days, a fairly regular interaction between us goes a little something like this:
Mommy, can I watch Sesame Street?
You can watch Sesame Street later, after your nap time.
Can I watch Sesame Street?
You can. Later. After your nap time.
Can I watch Sesame Street?
Thaddeus, are you listening to me? I hear what you’re saying. You want to watch Sesame Street. Do you hear what I’m saying?
You can watch Sesame Street after your nap time.
And it recently occurred to me that we often do something very similar when we pray to God. We ask for the same things over and over again, listening only for a specific response. Then, when He responds differently than what we were hoping for, we claim He is not listening. Or speaking. When, in reality, He’s just not saying what we want to hear. So we don’t hear Him.
Lord, I want to go left. Please let me go left.
You need to go right.
Jesus, left looks amazing. Please open the door on the left.
I’ve opened the door on the right, just for you.
Jesus, why aren’t you answering me?
I find myself quoting one of my favorite uncles a lot these days. When my cousins and I were little, Uncle Junior used to walk into whatever room we were playing in, puff his chest out, and say playfully in his authoritative, military voice, “Who’s in charge here?”
So the conversation with my son often continues like this:
But I want to watch Sesame Street now.
Oh okay! But are you in charge?
Who’s in charge here?
Mommy and Daddy are in charge.
That’s right. God put me in charge, and I say it’s time to interact with the real world so your brain can develop properly. Go find something fun to do!
When we pray, it’s fine to tell God what we think we need. But are we bringing our longings to Him with the knowledge that He deeply understands what we are truly in need of?
What are our assumptions about who truly knows best in this relationship? Do we trust His heart for us?
Who are we assuming is really in charge?
Rest assured, Thaddeus and I haven’t only been spending our time going round and round in our conversations. We’ve also been baking together a lot. He stands on a stool while we pour things into bowls, stir them, hold the mixer together. Tuck pigs into their cozy, warm blankets. Once our creations go into the oven, my son will usually ask:
What can we do while we wait?
What would you like to do?
Come play with me in my room, mommy!
And we’ll spend the time throwing birthday parties for his dinosaurs, or building tall towers out of blocks so he can smash them to pieces while I shout, “Godzi-rraaaaa!!!”
And in those moments, Sesame Street can wait. He’s content. He has everything He needs.
You see, God does want to give us the desires of our hearts. But ultimately, He wants to be the desire of our hearts. And when we come to Him asking just to be with Him, He is never One to hold Himself back. He is the source of all life and love. And that’s all we’re ever really longing for anyway.
The question becomes: what are we holding back?
What truths are we refusing to listen to because they are not the things we want to hear?
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” Jesus kept saying over and over again, knowing full well that most people were missing His point.
Lord, give us ears to hear what You are saying, and humility to lay down our idols so that nothing holds us back from Your Love and Truth. Amen.