Years ago, my husband volunteered as a budget coach for Crown Financial Ministry, trying to help people free themselves from the burden of debt. He had spent the past hour, trying to help some poor guy loosen a few strands of the tangled, heavy debt-mass he had accrued.

Stressful choices. A long, uphill battle. Painful marital strain. The man was trying to turn things around, but he had a lot of work ahead of him.

Emotionally drained, Ken finished the call, then headed up to the bright, flowery bedroom of his seven-year-old daughter, who was waiting for him to read a chapter of their book. Looking into her sweet, carefree face, he wanted none of debt’s burdens for her.

So he said to his pretty girl, “Linds, when you’re all grown up and ready to get married, I don’t ever want you to marry a guy who’s in debt, okay? Debt is when you owe money because you spent more than you had. Debt makes life really hard.”

Lindsay carefully considered these thoughts and then said, “But Daddy, what if he’s kind? Is it okay to marry him if he’s really kind?”

Ken immediately retorted, “No, Linds! I don’t care how kind the guy is. I don’t want him to be in debt, okay?”

Ken laughed as he told me the story later that night. We could both picture our sweet, innocent daughter bringing some debt-ridden young man to the door step, saying, “Daddy, he’s really kind. He wants to give me a diamond, but… can you loan him the cash?”

As a father, Ken is wary of trouble that his innocent daughter can’t even imagine. He want to protect her from consequences she hasn’t even considered. He’s seen more than she has. He knows what to guard against.

It’s not that he’s a mean, restrictive father; it’s because he wants his girl to have a rich, free, full life.

At seven years old, it was easy to convince Lindsay that a kind, indebted man wouldn’t be the right choice of husband. But when she’s older, it might be harder for her to trust–especially if the kind, young debtor is someone she really likes.

It’s the same with our heavenly Father. It’s easy to commit at seven years old that you’ll go where the Lord leads and do what his Word says. It becomes harder when we grow up, and feel as though we can see just as far as God can–when we don’t see any problems with what we’re choosing.

But just like a daddy who wants what is best for his little girl, God asks us to trust him, listen to him, and let him direct our paths–especially when it’s hard.

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