Per our family’s tradition, I asked our soon-to-be 7-year old son where/what he wanted to eat for his birthday. With our other kids, they’ve picked special home cooked meals with elaborate desserts or Chinese buffets followed up with frozen yogurt sundaes. It’s their once-a-year chance to make the family’s dinner plans without any input from siblings. (Disclaimer: Our daughters have actually made their choice together. It’s one of the unfortunate side effects of being twins.)
So I asked our youngest what he would pick. He thought for a moment and said, “Where is the place we eat in the morning when we drive to Mimi’s house (Knoxville)?”
“Yes. That is what I want for breakfast.”
“And where is the place where you can walk up to get a hamburger? It is close to church.”
“Yes. You never take me there. I want to eat there for lunch.”
“Okay. I bet you have a plan for supper. What do you think?”
“I want to eat at the taco place.”
Now we’re talking, I think. Please pick Chuy’s. Please pick Chuy’s. Please pick Chuy’s.
But he further explained, “The taco place with the bell on the sign. You never take me there either.”
“Yes!” He answered excitedly, “That is where I want to eat supper!”
It promises to be a day full of indigestion! I thought.
His choices reveal a limited understanding. Picking three fast food meals when we’ve offered him all that’s available seems foolish. I know part of the appeal of his choices is that they appear somehow forbidden. These are the places mom refuses to bring him so they must be something extra special. I’m assuming that one day he’ll understand there’s food more remarkable than Egg McMuffins, Whoppers, and Taco Bell Grandes.
I wonder if this is sometimes how it looks to God when we pray. We have no idea the glorious riches He wants to offer us. When Jesus instructed his disciples how to pray, He reminded them that “your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
As a part of my New Year’s resolution to pray more, I’m going to try to remember to leave room for God’s plan in my petitions. I’m going to ask Him to meet my needs and consider my wants, but I’m going to add a default clause that goes something like this: “But You, Lord, are wiser and know better than me, so feel free to alter anything I just said.” Amen.