Faith is a tough concept for me. It’s something that I seem to have to learn again and again in my life. As a list-maker, planner, and designer, you might say I like to be in control. I like to be in the driver’s seat with the map and know the WHOLE plan for getting to where I’m going. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) that’s not how faith – or God – operates. God is more of the friend in the passenger seat who tells you exactly when to turn. He doesn’t always tell you where you’re going – the final destination. And He certainly doesn’t tell you all the steps you’re going to take to get there. But He does make sure to tell you when to turn (and when to make a U-turn cause you’ve missed a turn!) He simply just asks that you get behind the driver’s seat, have faith in Him, and drive. But having childlike faith, trusting your Father in the passenger seat, is harder than it seems.
I remember when my nephew was just a toddler. Every morning, without fail, he’d wake up and yell for his daddy to come get him out of bed. And every morning, without fail, he’d walk down the stairs holding his daddy’s hand and ask him for a Pop-tart. Within a few minutes, my nephew would be fully engaged in some cartoon or toy without a worry about getting his Pop-tart. He knew that his daddy would go to the kitchen and get him one. He knew he wouldn’t go hungry for breakfast.
It’s a simple concept to feed a child. It’s not a big deal for most of us to drive to the store, pick up a box of Pop-Tarts, pay for them, and bring them home. But for a toddler, this is an impossible feat. My two-year-old nephew could never teach himself how to drive a car, figure out where the grocery store is, manage to find and reach the Pop-tarts box, and then somehow come up with the money to pay for them.
My nephew could never figure out how to google “Pop-tart recipe”, gather the necessary ingredients, mix them together, and bake them in the oven himself. It would be silly for him to even try. He doesn’t have the means, ability, or know-how to get himself a Pop-Tart.
Yet, every morning his father would provide him with a Pop-Tart.
I think about myself like a two-year-old in the eyes of my Father. Instead of waking up and asking my Father for a sweet treat, I run to the kitchen. I reach for flour but get corn meal instead because I can’t read. I push a step-stool over to the sink so I can reach the faucet. I’m struggling to stir the corn meal and water because my hands are too small. And I burn myself on the oven because I don’t understand how to use it. It’s literally a hot mess. This is what happens when I try to do for myself, when I try to control, when I lack childlike faith – faith that God will provide.. My best attempts are completely worthless because I’m trying to do something that is so beyond my capability.
Yet, my Father is standing in the corner, holding a Pop-Tart, just waiting for me to ask for it.
It seems so simple – to get up every morning ask my Heavenly Father to provide the things He knows I need and knows I want. Yet, even in the times I do ask, I still doubt. I doubt that my Father will provide. I think, “He does good things, just not for me, only for others.”
My nephew never doubted whether his father would get him a Pop-Tart. Yes, sometimes he had to wait longer than he wanted to. Yes, sometimes he got something other than what he wanted. But his father always provided.
Jesus says this in Matthew 7:9-11
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
We know how to take care of our children. We know what they are going to need long before they request it. This is why we work and pay bills and grocery shop. So that when it gets cold outside, the children have heat. And when the kids are hungry, there is food to feed them. We who are sinners, who are selfish, who are inherently evil, know how to do this. Yet, we don’t trust our Good and Perfect Father will do this for us.
So, I pray for Pop-Tarts. Pop-Tarts remind me that I’m a child and that God is my Father. They remind me that I need to ask for what I need. They remind me that I can’t do it all by myself. They remind me I need my Father’s help. They remind me I have a Father who loves me and cares for me.
Pray for Pop-Tarts. Then go play in God’s Creation like His dear, little child. Trust that He will provide.