Big Birdies - Week of July 26th

By Judy Nichols

July 26, 2015

Just around the corner from my daughter’s home is a place where tree branches had grown around an electric wire. When the tree was cut down, they left the chunks of wood through which the wire ran just hanging there. While on a walk with the neighbor who babysits them often, my granddaughter noticed them and the sitter told her they looked like big birdies sitting up there.

When we visited recently, we planned in the afternoon to take a walk after supper. Right away Sophie started signing "big birdies." My daughter promised her we would go see them. Thinking they were real birds, I wondered how she could know for sure the birdies would be there and she explained. After dinner we finally loaded the kids into the stroller and set out. The entire way – three blocks one way and three blocks back – at least every couple of minutes Sophie would sign "big birdies." Her mom assured her that, yes, we would go see the big birdies on the way home. She never quit asking until we turned the corner and they came into view.

Jesus told a parable about a persistent widow who kept pestering a judge until he finally relented and granted her the justice she needed. He said at the outset of the parable that its purpose was to show them that they should always pray and never give up (Luke 18:1). He also said on another occasion, "Let the children alone and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14).

I think sometimes we have an erroneous view of what it means to always pray and never give up. We think of our prayers more as formally "addressing the Deity" than as repeatedly signing "big birdies." We think we must explain in detail every time we pray what it is we want and why. (And, taking more authority than is rightly ours, we sometimes tell God exactly how and when He should do it.)

Even though it was annoying, my daughter would have been rude to have ignored her child’s repeated requests. An older child might reasonably have been expected to assume a parent would fulfill a promise, but three-year-olds do not have that kind of maturity yet. God’s silence or delay in answering our prayers is no indication that He has forgotten us or His promises to us. Rather, and especially if we are praying in accordance with a Scriptural promise, we use that promise not only to remind God that we are in need of what He has said He will do, but also to remind ourselves that God has promised and will fulfill. If He has spoken a promise to our hearts as something we may ask Him, then surely He also means to speak it to our hearts as assurance that He hears and will act.

Jesus ended the parable of the persistent widow with a question. "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Childlike faith is when we continue to just lift up that name or that situation that is on our hearts and don’t stop till the answer comes into view.

© Judy Nichols 2015

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