Isaac was desperate.
He couldn’t find his favorite airplane book. And this boy loves – LOVES – his airplanes.
Hearing his frustration, I walked into the playroom to see if I could track down the book.
I looked on the shelves. In the box of books on the floor. Walked upstairs to his room to see if it’d migrated.
Isaac observed my search with big brown eyes. Eyes I knew were on the brink of overflowing with tears – for a long, long time – if I couldn’t locate this darn book.
Then thought occurred to me.
Dana, pray. Ask Me for help.
“I already did.”
No. Pray out loud. With Isaac.
The Holy Spirit’s whisper definitely ran up against a barrier in my heart.
My immediate thought: “God, I don’t want to pray with him. I’ve looked EVERYWHERE I can think of and the book’s not here. I don’t want to damage his faith-”
Oh. THAT was my problem. That was the barrier.
My own “damaged” faith.
The times I’ve asked God for healing on another’s behalf and seen no obvious results.
The times I’ve received prayer for my own healing. I still have asthma.
This is it. The reason I don’t want to pray for those who may not know the Lord. For healing, or for whatever else.
I don’t want His lack of apparent answer to damage their young faith.
The Whisper came again: “Dana, it’s MY job to protect Isaac’s heart. To teach him who I am. To reveal to him My heart toward him. You can’t protect him from the hard times. The times the answer doesn’t seem to come. Your job is to obey Me. To teach him to ask. And then step back and allow him to learn from Me as I engage his little heart.”
And see? Here’s the thing: this is only the beginning. Stretching out before my almost-3-year-old is an entire lifetime of learning to walk with Jesus.
And today – for the next 20, 30, 40 years – I can’t protect my child from having to walk through painful things in his experience of the Lord. For me to try to do that is to deprive Isaac of crucial things God wants to give him. To teach him.
I squatted down to Isaac’s level.
“Hey buddy? Let’s pray and ask Jesus to help us find your book.”
He gave an enthusiastic “okay!” and immediately launched into his own quick prayer. Something like, “Jesus please help find airplane book! Amen!”
“Alright! Let’s FIND IT!”
He was ecstatic. Absolutely no question in his mind as to whether we’d find the book. Right now.
Okay Lord, here we go.
I walked over to the box on the floor. The one I’d already thoroughly searched.
And I found it.
Jesus. Thank You.
Isaac wasn’t surprised in the least. “Buddy! Jesus helped us find your airplane book!”
“YAY!” He did a happy dance. We thanked Jesus and sat down together to check out the planes.
And my heart was churning kind of.
“God, thank you for caring about the smallest details and desires of my little guy’s heart. But what if you hadn’t led me straight to the book? What if we’d searched for another 15 minutes and it hadn’t appeared and what if Isaac was devastated? I know it wouldn’t mean you cared any less about his heart – but Lord? I don’t want to see him struggle. Wrestle. Misunderstand your heart toward him.”
I know this is an age-old struggle. That zillions of Jesus-following parents have gone before me in this letting go and trusting God to perfectly shepherd my child and shape his faith thing. And I know the pain of the stepping back and letting God do His thing will only intensify as my children grow.
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