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Daddy, why?... Daddy will you?" | Caring Magazine

the spice box “Daddy, how?… Daddy, why?… Daddy will you?”

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By Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel

What is more familiar to the loving parent than the interminable questions of the young child?

It’s enough to drive the most indulgent of fathers and mothers to distraction. They say it’s a stage all children go through; it will pass—hopefully, by the time they reach 18!

But then again, how do children learn but through asking questions, experimenting, and testing the world around them? Sometimes a verbal answer is enough to satisfy the child, but more often it takes some sort of reinforcement before real learning takes place. Telling a child a fire is hot may warn him of danger, but all too often it is not until he experiences “hot” for himself that he learns to avoid the flame.

So the child asks how, why, what, and any other question he can think of, and Daddy patiently tries to answer in a way the child will understand, and at the same time tries to guide the child’s little experiments and interaction with his environment, hoping to keep the child from suffering the consequences of learning “why” too late, after the damage is done. The parent loves and teaches and guides and corrects and forgives, and with each new experience the child learns. But, oh, those interminable questions! Sometimes it makes you want to cry, “Enough! I’m busy! Go play with your toys! Go clean your room! Go outside! Go…go…do something!”

I wonder if God ever gets tired of my interminable questions. Do I ever drive him to distraction, pestering him for answers I should have learned a long time ago? Does God ever wish I’d just leave him alone to get about his more important business? Is he ever tempted to say, “Look, stop wasting my time!”

 

Questioning God

We like to think of God as a loving Father, but we also recognize that he is, above all, God. James tells us to come to him for wisdom and that he will respond in a straightforward manner, not holding back, and that he never chides us for asking. He understands our needs better than we do. No matter how intellectual or wise we may affect to be, he recognizes our spiritual immaturity, our need to grow in wisdom and spiritual understanding in order to minister effectively in his name. He knows that no matter how long we have walked with him, we continue to need one-on-one tutoring sessions with him. That’s what “pray without ceasing” is all about—the constant walk with him, asking sometimes stupid questions, irrelevant questions, giving him opportunity to teach us, to sort out the wise from the ridiculous, the relevant from the irrelevant. God loves being our teacher; he loves it even more when we listen carefully to his responses.

And herein lies the key: no question is too small, too trivial to bring to God, but God does expect us to listen as he answers. God is God. He does not get distracted. He does not need to neglect other, more important, matters to listen. He doesn’t need a secretary to take his calls, and he considers all his calls to be important and worthy of his attention.

God considers our prayer time as a learning session, a classroom where he is the teacher, and we sit at his feet seeking to learn wisdom. As his students, his children, we need to learn how to listen for his answers. He is a good teacher and knows how best to deal with his students. Sometimes, instead of giving a direct answer in the way that we expected, he answers with a question. Sometimes he will suggest that perhaps there is a different question we should be asking. He pushes and prods us in the right direction and challenges us to deeper inquiry. He doesn’t make it easy. He knows how tempting it is for us to look for the “easy way” to our goals, and he understands too well that what we find too easily we tend to take for granted as our due. He knows how apt we are to be satisfied with a “C” in Christian living when he has made it possible for us to get an “A.”

Our parents want the best for us. They always tried to teach us how to make right decisions, to handle life’s challenges competently, with wisdom and maturity. Our Father just wants the same thing, and in every interaction with us he strives to help us accomplish these goals. He never minds if we ask questions. He just expects us to pay attention when he answers!

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