The day after Easter my son asked me if he could have lunch. At 10am. It wasn’t because he was particularly hungry, just that he knew he couldn’t have any candy until he had eaten lunch. In Isaac’s case, this behavior is amusing. With grown-ups much less so. I would much rather someone come out with their actual question or request rather than dancing around it, hoping I will offer or somehow psychically mind-read the real issue.
And yet, like many things that drive us crazy about others, it is something I am tempted to myself, and especially with God. It is hard for me to go to Him and ask for something tangible and specific. Instead, like a preschooler thinking he’ll out-think Him into early candy consumption, I often play spiritual games with Him. Sometimes I think I hide behind wanting Him to do His will, so that if He chooses not to grant my request I will not be disappointed. Now, of course it is a good thing to want God’s will in all things. The saints were people who got to the point where they were as thrilled with rain as sunshine, sickness as health, hunger as plenty, because they knew all things came from the hand of God, and they wanted what He wanted for them. So, in one sense, it’s good to not put in specific requests. If we’re doing it for the right reasons.
If we avoid doing so, is it because we are in true uniformity with His will, or because we don’t believe He has time for us, or that we are important enough, or that He is good enough to grant such a request? These are not good reasons! God is our Father, and He wants us to ask Him for the stuff we need and want. Just as I recognize that Isaac biting his finger for the umpteenth time is not the biggest trial he’ll face in life, I empathize that that hurts, so does God see our trials in perspective, but with empathy. The little things of our lives matter to Him. And sometimes He needs us to just come out and ask before He will provide something, in order to build up our faith.
This week I had been watching the weather like a hawk. We had four groups of teens planning to go out to do yard work for parishioners, and it was supposed to be cold and raining. It occured to me after flippantly asking others to “pray for sun”, that perhaps I should take my own advice. Very specifically, I asked, “Lord, please let it be sunny enough that we can go do chores tomorrow”. Saturday morning, I sat down for prayer and read from Matthew about the star of Bethlehem and it occurred to me: God orchestrated a huge, burning ball of gas millions of lightyears from earth to show the location of a tiny baby in a stable. He can hold off some rain for a few hours. As I finished praying, the clouds cleared and the whole day was dry enough to work.
Could God have been glorified through a weather cancellation? Absolutely. But I think He chose to answer my little prayer to build up my faith. To show me that I can trust Him with the small things as well as the big. I have started getting specific with Him in bigger things. It is good to remember that even though sometimes He says no for our own good, sometimes He does say “yes”!