Photo courtesy of photopin.com (details below)
I was on vacation for the better part of last week. The place where I stayed did not have internet access. I was able to peruse the web a bit on my phone, but could not connect via my laptop. I did not have the time to go search out a hot spot, so I chose to take a week off from blogging as well.
Our family went to the beach and I now have lots of stories to share!
A few of the events/conversations got me thinking theologically as well . . . I know, I’m at the beach, fun and sun, so why am I thinking about theology for crying out loud?!
The one I will share with you in this post involved a conversation between me, my wife and our four-year old inquisitive daughter. The subject was babies and birth. A subject that has come up before, but now, as she is getting older and even smarter (and more curious!) she asks more and more questions.
The convo went something like this:
The four-year old: Mommy was I in your belly when I was a little girl?
Wife/Mother: Yes, baby, you were in mommy’s tummy when you were a little baby girl.
The four-year old: Was she (pointing to her two-year old sister) in your tummy too, when she was a little girl?
Wife/Mother: Yes honey, your baby sister was in mommy’s tummy too.
Me: Everyone starts out in their mommy’s tummy. Even mommy and daddy.
The four-year old: But, how did we get out? Did the doctor get us out?
Wife/Mother: Yes baby, the doctor got you out of mommy’s tummy.
The four-year old: Did he pull us out of your belly?
Wife/Mother: (looking at me with a look that said, What do I say next?!)
Me: Yes honey, the doctor pulled you out. That is what doctor’s do.
The four-year old: He pulled us out of mommy’s belly?
Me: Well, something like that.
The four-year old: Did he pull us out of her throat?!
As you can see, my wife and I were in over our heads very quickly. I suppose it was appropriate that we were at the beach, because I felt as though the waters were over my head at this point!
As I thought more and more about this comical, uncomfortable (for we parents) conversation, I thought about the questions I often ask God. I thought about how these corresponded to questions my daughters ask me or my wife.
There are those questions that are easy to answer with a decisive reply: Where are my shoes daddy? They are in your closet.
There are the silly questions that you answer with a laugh and a tickle: Mommy why is my foot on my head? Because you put it there silly girl!
Then, there are the harder questions to answer. These fall into at least two categories: first, life questions that are difficult to answer at any age and second, life questions that are inappropriate to answer at a young age.
The first, for instance, would be a question about death. This is one our four-year old has asked several times and becomes a bit upset when we try to answer it in an appropriate way. She experienced death close-up this past year. A baby that was in daycare with her suddenly stopped breathing and died. It is something that has weighed heavily on her little, young mind.
The second category would include the aforementioned conversation at the beach about how babies are born. She is too young to be given the details of such a subject; but, her curious mind is hungering to know. Even at her age she sees the dilemma of being inside the womb (or belly, as she says) and getting out!
Obviously, my wife and I cannot sit her down and go into graphic details about this process. It will be something she will learn and we can share with her more and more as she gets older and more mature.
I thought about how many of my questions to God may fit this latter category. How many questions have I/do I ask of God and he does not answer me directly, because he knows I am not ready for the answer? He knows I am not mature enough yet to handle the specifics?
And in these cases, is it acceptable that I am not mature enough yet; or, is it a case of my pride and selfish nature that has stunted my spiritual growth and development?
How many times does it fall under the category of Paul and the Corinthian church, when he told them he wanted to share deeper things with them (the meat) but they were still too immature and so he had to keep giving them the bottle (the milk)?
Maybe God’s reply to me is: Grow up and then I will tell you.
Of course, other times it may just be that God knows I am not able to handle the answer. So, he does not give me the answer I want or feel that I deserve, not because he is hiding something from me or tying to deceive me; but rather, because he loves me and is protecting me.
How many of my questions fit the how are babies born category?
In those times, I, like my daughter, do not understand why he just will not give me a straight, honest answer. I am sure my daughter feels the same way from time to time. In fact, I know she does, because she will often huff when I do not answer her questions the way she wants.
How many times do I huff at God? How many times do I stomp my foot and accuse God of being unfair, unloving or even worse because he will not clue me in to every detail? Could it be, as I and my wife do with our daughter, in those moments he is really loving me and protecting me?
I think so.
If you have questions that you feel God is not answering to your satisfaction, maybe you are asking him a how are babies born type of question. Maybe he is not giving you all the details, because at the present, he knows you are not ready for the answer.
Sometimes the most loving and gracious thing God can do for us is to answer our questions with a No or Wait (until you are more mature).
When God answers in this fashion, it is not because he is being unkind or unloving. It is not because he is trying to deceive us. It is not because he is pulling a power play over us. Rather, it is because he is a good, gracious and loving Father.
A Father who knows us better than we know ourselves. A Father who protects us.
A Father who truly knows best.
Photo details: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/visualpanic/2201494670/”>visualpanic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>