“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’” Mark 10:14b-15 (NIV)
My daughter, Katherine, is now six months old, and with that comes a desire to understand the world through the lens of flavor. Whenever she is left to her own devices, she sets out on a journey of culinary discovery. A typical day’s tastings might include a stuffed animal, a dust bunny, an old shoe, her brother’s toys, and of course her brother for comparison. This also opens up new opportunities for parenting. I love finding new things to feed her so I can see the joy on her face radiating through a layer of baby food.
As for me, I’m less open about what kinds of foods I’m willing to experience. Some of this is just the wisdom that comes with age. I know that plastic food does not satisfy, junk mail provides no nutritional benefit, and dust bunnies do not taste like actual rabbit meat. But I’m still a picky eater even when I know the food is harmless. Better to play it safe and avoid tasting something I might not like rather than take a risk and try something new.
Unfortunately, that hesitancy carries over into my spiritual life. I pray every morning, and every morning I end my prayers quickly. Part of me is eager to hear from God, but if I leave time for Him to speak to me that also leaves the opportunity for Him to ignore me. So I cut it short. I pray for healings for myself and others, but I undercut those prayers with hedging and equivocation. “God, if you’re willing…,” “God, I recognize that your plans and my desires don’t always coincide, so…,” or “God, even if you don’t grant my request…” It sounds humble, but in large part it comes from an expectation that God will not answer, and if He does, His answer will be “No.” I hear God saying to me, “I have set before you a table with every good thing. Taste and eat.” And yet, what if the Voice of Truth is wrong? What if it doesn’t work? What if He doesn’t actually love me this time and abandons me? And so I reach out with one hand and pull my arm back with the other.
My daughter’s got the right idea. She goes around with joyful zeal, eager to taste everything in her father’s house. And that is the confidence I want, knowing that a feast has been laid before me, every dish healthy, fitting, and prepared just for me. There are no choking hazards here, no filet of dust bunny. My Father loves me; He does not give me a scorpion when I ask Him for a fish, nor a rock when I crave bread. All I need to do is trust enough to eat what He has given me.
Prayer: Father, You have prepared a table for me in the presence of the enemy. Help me to trust Your provision with the faith of a child.
~ Cameron Miller, writer
~ photo by Lori Stombaugh