Every healthy parent I know longs to be a help to their children. I have felt that keenly in the process of launching my sons into adulthood. We worked to give them choices when they were little, choices within the boundaries of what we considered to be healthy. As they grew older, we continued a steady journey of releasing control and allowing them to make choices. Now that they are in their 20’s, the choices and consequences are theirs alone. We all have to take on the world, make our decisions, and live with the benefits and consequences of them.
When they were young, immature, and inexperienced, we told them what to do. With each year of age, we told them less and asked them more. We wanted desperately to help, but we also had to exercise discipline on our opinions so that they learned to make good decisions themselves. I know I had a mixed bag of questionable decisions during my own journey to adulthood; I expect my sons to have their own.
But I am ready and excited always to hear their REQUEST for help, advice, counsel, and encouragement. I hunger for their phone calls and questions. I embrace the opportunity to hear about what they’re facing and the struggle to sort through options and define what is best. Why? I love them. I have loved them since they were hazy images on a sonogram. For two decades, I looked forward to coming home to them, and I loved their trust, respect, and affection. They have learned to deal with life on so many levels, but they are starting to discover that they never stop learning. And I hope they have learned that their dad is always interested in hearing and helping.
Now the hard part: my willingness and knowledge often goes untapped. As much as I want to, as much as I could, my help is untapped until requested. The older they get, the more I could help, and the less they ask. The stakes have never been bigger, but the natural bent of independence is to leave your greatest resources of help untapped.
God invites us to cast our cares upon Him, to ask, to seek His leadership and counsel, to seek His help. But praying is often the last resort, not the first. We are His kids and He longs to help, to forgive, to encourage, to hear us. This week, I have felt like a kid in need. I am stressed. This morning, it was as clear as it could be in my heart: “Bruce, why aren’t you giving this to me? Why aren’t you bringing your worry and your challenge to me? Come to ME, all you who are burdened and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Are YOU leaving the resources, affection, and leadership of Heaven untapped? Stop. Turn your heart to your Heavenly Father and unload. Even when He knows (and He always does) He enjoys the prayers of His kids. He wants to listen, and He wants to remind us of His instruction and wisdom. He wants to comfort and encourage. He’s waiting for your call right now!