I learn a lot about God through parenting my children. Recently I received another very clear object lesson on James 4:2b: You do not have, because you do not ask God.
I have a son who rarely asks us for anything. And I mean anything! Not for birthdays or Christmas. Nothing. We try to do for him, but he doesn’t seem to care one way or another. He doesn’t sulk when he doesn’t have what he wants and he doesn’t beg if there is something he wants.
The other day I found out he’d wanted to go out of town with a friend over Easter weekend. They were going to visit family, but they were also going to make two college visits. The trip had been mentioned to us by the parents, but not in a “can he go with us” sort of way. We mentioned it to our son, giving other alternatives, thinking he didn’t want to go visit his friend’s extended family who he doesn’t know. But never once did he say, “I want to go.”
Until the day before they were to leave. His friend mentioned the trip in front of me. I later asked my son why he didn’t want to go.
“Because I thought I couldn’t go” was his answer.
“Did you ever ask?” I said.
“No.” (He is a very truthful child as well!)
“I can’t read your mind, Son.” Then I paused. “Is it too late for you to say yes?”
As he called his friend, I literally cried over the fact that here was something his heart desired and I couldn’t give it to him because he hadn’t asked beforehand.
As I grieved for my son, I realized how God must feel when He is ready and willing to give me my heart’s desire, but I simply do not ask. I assume I shouldn’t want it or won’t get it. So I stay silent. And if my heart hurts as a parent in this situation, can I assume God’s heart hurts any less?
In a happy ending to the story, we were able to work it out for him to go, even at the last minute. And if we in our finite ways can sometimes manage such a thing, how much more can God make a way, even if we’ve waited to ask until we think it is too late.
Forgive me, Lord, for not speaking my mind and letting You decide the answer, not assuming I have all the answers myself. Please let both my son and I learn to open our mouths and reveal our hearts’ desires clearly to You and to the people who love us.