He said, “I felt Daddy looking for my tooth under my pillow, but I guess he didn’t find it.”
He handed me the tooth.
Then he kept his hand out.
Apparently, he was expecting something in return!
Ok, first of all I have a problem with a kid who’s as tall as I am cashing in on his teeth! And this particular kid hadn’t believed in tooth fairies for years. Yet here he was, demanding a tooth fairy transaction. It was ridiculous.
As I recall, he was pretty strapped for cash, and pawning your teeth is about the easiest way there is to make a buck. (Yes, I did say buck. I am astounded by the recent inflation of the American baby tooth.) But beside the fact that he was too old to be doing this, the idea of sidestepping the whole scrounge-under-the-pillow-in-the-dark formality was too much for me. I wasn’t going to just hand him a dollar for his tooth! It was preposterous.
He said, “But mom, I’ve been reminding you guys for, like four days now, and you keep forgetting!”
It was true. He had been faithful to make an announcement at breakfast each day that week, “You guys forgot to come get my tooth again last night.”
Now, four days was by no means a record in our house. Ken and I have always been terrible with tooth follow through! (As is demonstrated here.)
Still, it didn’t seem right. Him, standing there in his pajamas. Me, sitting at the desk. Exchanging a tooth for a dollar? It felt as wrong as giving him a birthday present without wrapping it. Or dumping Halloween candy in his pumpkin without making him go door-to-door.
He could tell I was about to say no, so he leaned forward earnestly. “Mom, please, please! They’re selling suckers at school tomorrow and I want a dollar so I can buy some.” Oh, so now that he was out of baby teeth, he wanted to work on losing the next set.
I caved in, handed him the dollar, and threw the tooth in the trash. Sigh. I guess after so many years of parenting, you just loose your sense of sentimentality. Or your kids beat it out of you!
But he did have some wisdom, that boy of mine. He knew to keep asking. And asking. And asking. He knew to not stop.
Jesus told a story about a woman with similar persistence. A corrupt judge was refusing to give her justice. He was ignoring her. But she kept going back, and back, and back. She kept asking and asking. Finally the old judge caved in! (Luke 18:1-7)
Friend, what are you asking God for? What problem do you have that you just can’t fix?
- A broken marriage?
- A prodigal child?
- A pile of debt?
I have my list of unanswered requests. Things that trouble me deeply; things that I long for. I’m sure you have your own list. And Jesus says that we should approach God like a fifth grader! We should go back over and over and over! We should come to Him in our pajamas, at the end of the day. We should remind Him of our request at breakfast the next morning. We should plead with Him day in and day out.
And our God is nothing like that corrupt judge (or a tired mom), who has to be annoyed into dealing with our complaints. Oh, no. God is kind, gracious, and just! And He loves for us to come to Him. Perhaps God has brought this struggle into our lives as a way to draw us to Himself.
Still, we have options.
We could give up and stop asking. We could get discouraged or frustrated with God, or even angry. Or we can have the wisdom of a fifth grade boy and keep asking!
And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Luke 18:7