Silence is Golden?
As anyone who has cared for a little person knows, when a preschooler suddenly goes quiet it’s best to investigate. A lack of noise may well mean they are up to something they shouldn’t be! So when my only child, a usually very loud four year old, suddenly turned quiet I needed to find out why. I found him sitting cross-legged on his bed, eyes tight shut and hands clasped firmly together in prayer. His silent plea was that God would send him a puppy.
The problem with this request was that I was terrified of dogs. My fear was so intense I knew there was no way we would ever be getting a puppy. It seemed my son was going to learn very early in life that God doesn’t always answer our prayers. But then three things happened to me!
Firstly, I had to fly to a conference, and because I disliked flying as much as I disliked dogs I took a good book to distract me. The book contained a chapter on fear! The author suggested fear is a reality we create in our heads. I felt challenged to consider whether or not I had the capacity to change the thought processes that had become my reality.
Secondly, the monthly parenting magazine I subscribed to arrived and contained an article about only children needing pets to help them learn important social and caring skills. And finally, a friend phoned to say my son needed a puppy and she had found us one! So for his fifth birthday my son received a puppy, and a mother who began to change her reality in relation to both dogs and flying!
This puppy became a constant companion, a faithful friend, and daily presence in our home. She was the evidence that God even cares about the heartfelt longings of a four year old child.
Step Three of The 12 Steps invites us to consider whether we will surrender ourselves to the care of God. It can be hard to believe God cares about us when life throws us tough stuff. Yet the arrival of a puppy pointed me to the parent heart of God. Here was the evidence our Divine Parent enjoys gifting good things as much as I love to gift good things to my son. What is good and what we want may not be the same thing, however. So this step asks us to consider if we believe God truly cares about us even when we don’t get what we want. I didn’t want a puppy, yet I benefited as much as my son through her addition to our family. I don’t ever want pain and struggle, yet so often these become the pathway to a deeper, richer life.
Jesus claimed God delights to give us good things (Matthew 7:11). When life is difficult this can feel like a broken promise. However, if we study these words we find Jesus made similar promises where the word good is replaced by Holy Spirit. It seems Jesus promises us not just any good thing – but the best gift of all – the very presence of God to guide, sustain and accompany us through all of life’s experiences. In the face of life’s challenges what matters more to me than anything else is that someone is there for me. The gift of a God-with-me-no-matter-what truly demonstrates the depth of God’s care for me.
The arrival of a puppy became a most unexpected answer to a four year old’s prayer. The arrival of a puppy started me thinking about how much as parents we delight to give our children good things. The arrival of a puppy helped me appreciate how much God, our Divine Parent cares, because we are gifted the best gift of all – a constant, faithful companion who is with us no matter what.