God is a Father in ways I will never fully understand, at least on this side of eternity, but there are striking similarities which shine forth during moments of exceptional clarity in life or in prayer - often bred from discouragement or despair - when I turn my heart reluctantly toward Him in true supplication, abandoning my usual practice of petition. (That's foot-tapping, frequent watch-glancing, arms-crossed-in-frustration petition, for anyone unfamiliar with this chosen method of prayer which I lean heavily upon.)
I'm not great at waiting patiently, but I can ask. I'm a great asker. Just ask my folks.
And so I've been doing a lot of asking lately, both quantitatively and qualitatively speaking. Not for much, really, just for glimpses into the future, a vision of "the bigger picture," hints at my eventual vocation... I've basically been asking for editorial jurisdiction over the screen play that is my life.
And I feel like God's been answering me in a familiar sort of way that hearkens back to days gone by, when the right questions posed at the wrong time would result in the all-too-familiar adage: "I'll tell you when you're older."
Or something along those lines.
Only my father never said it in those words, exactly. He didn't have to. He simply let me know on a "need-to-know" basis what he thought I needed to know, when I needed to know it. And what made him the expert on my life? His particular role as my father. And that was good enough then, so why isn't God's Fatherhood good enough now?
I have great difficulty trusting God to do what's best for me. I have very little difficulty trusting my dad though. Because I can see my dad, I can feel his arms around me when he hugs me, I can mentally conjure past experiences where he has proven himself worthy of my trust. And it's unlikely that I will mistakenly attribute the time my dad rescued me from the side of the road and taught me how to change a tire in a snowstorm to chance or luck. It wasn't luck, it was him - he was there.
With God, it's different. Or at least it appears so at first glance. God hasn't manifested His presence to me in a shimmering cloud of glory lately, hasn't appeared to me in a dream issuing instructions on living. God speaks softly. And not always in His own voice (though in all of creation, what true good can be spoken any other way, but through the voice of its Creator?).
God is less recognizable than my dad, because I less willing to recognize His hand at work in my life. I cry for His involvement in my daily affairs, but I reject His efforts on my behalf. I ask Him for things like patience and humility and trust, and then I reject the opportunities He sends my way to cultivate those virtues.
But I want it now, this way, my way. I don't care if He knows what's best for me, I know what I want and I waaaaant it. (Foot stamping for emphasis)
And then, much to my delight, (and chagrin) a ray of light breaks through the murkiness of uncertainty clouding the present, and I am utterly amazed at His faithfulness, charmed by His solicitous and particular care for me, His daughter. And for a few minutes - or maybe even days - I'm sure He's there and I'm certain He cares.
At these times, it makes perfect sense to look back along the timeline of events and understand why things happened when they did and the way they did. The hows and the whys make sense, suddenly, and I swear I'll never doubt His timing again. Because it wouldn't have worked earlier, I wouldn't have been ready yet, that opportunity wouldn't have been available, that person might not have said yes, etc...
And seeing that today I'm the oldest I've ever been, it only seems fitting to smile knowingly in His direction, understanding at last (sort of) the significance of that expression:
I'll tell you when you're older.