“Daddy, can i have 40 dollars?”
Brody, my 6 year old, needed a new video game for his DS. The question came up at dinner last Saturday and continued to be asked until it was time for bed.
Daddy, please? Daddy, I need it! Daddy, can I? How can I make 40 bucks daddy?
If you are a parent, you no doubt have experienced the incessant and persistent neediness of your children. There are moments when it feels as though every 3 seconds they are calling your name, wanting this, needing that. You love it, don’t you? Or maybe you are like me, and during those moments you just want to cover your ears and lock yourself in a quiet room and eat Oreos.
Sunday morning I was enjoying my quiet time before everyone woke up, doing some dishes, when I heard the pitter-patter of feet behind me.
It was Brody.
The first words out of his mouth that morning were, of course, “Daddy, when can I have that 40 dollars?”
As my flesh reared up and prepared to tell him to go back to bed and not bother me again about that, the Spirit of the Lord spoke into my heart, saying,
You are so unlike your Daddy in heaven, Chad.
Father stopped me in my tracks. The truth of this revelation had my full attention, then continued…
Your Father, Chad, never tires of his children’s needs. He never grows weary of their want. In fact, He is drawn to it. Unlike you, He does not hide from need but runs to it.
Oh, and Chad, I want you to be more like Me.
There are times when I get lulled into thinking Jesus and I are so alike. The world’s idolatry of self-sufficiency-as-virtue can easily lure me into loosing touch with the wholly-otherness of God, thus reducing Jesus to a peer I sometimes use to justify the life I’ve already determined to lead rather than surrendering to him as Lord, knowing my every breath hinges upon his word.
And so it is that this word that ruptured my world Sunday morning at Brody’s request is precisely what I needed, because it is through reckoning the great gulf that exists between myself and Father that I can truly appreciate and depend on His Son, who reconciled me, and us, bridging that gulf and making it possible to become like Daddy.
And the truth I am still in awe of today is that our Father in Heaven never tires of us. He never grows weary of the needs we bring to the throne of grace. He won’t bar the door and indulge Himself in Oreo cookies and earplugs. His love, patience, and compassion is so unlike my own, and for this I stand amazed, and humbled.
Perhaps this is why Jesus said the kingdom belongs to children. Children are constantly in need. Their very lives hang in the balance of a parent who loves them. And according to Jesus, age does not relinquish our need, despite our prideful attempts to assert otherwise. In fact, presupposing we have no needs, that we are doing just fine, thank you very much, is an affront to God, and blocks us from receiving all that our Father desires to give us as His children (Rev. 3:17).
Pride blinds us to our greatest need which is Jesus, and we can do no better than realizing we have this need. He has never stopped calling to any and all who would listen,
Come to me, you who are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28)
How awesome it is to know we have a God who does not respond like us earthly parents to need! We must come to know this God, and trust that our requests, no matter how trivial they may seem are not annoying God but displaying our dependence upon Him. It reflects a heart that is willing to humble itself before God as a child, and our Father is waiting for such worshipers! Run to him with your need!
In his book, Orthodoxy, G.K Chesterton pens this beautiful description of our Daddy who, unlike you and I, never gets tired of need.
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
It is my desire to become more like a child in the hands of my Father in heaven, needy and dependent upon Him for even the smallest details of my life. I believe this honors God, positioning me rightly before Him and others, serving to transform and renew a mind that so easily falls prey to the pride of life. I also desire to become more like Him in my response to need around me, to not grow weary or impatient but filled with His Spirit, abounding in grace and mercy. In my own strength I know this is not possible, but my Daddy does the impossible!