Back when my son Cade was in fifth grade, he came downstairs and found me working in the office late at night, after everyone else had gone to bed. He said, “Mom, 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. It was obvious he was expecting something in return.

I leaned back, tooth in hand. How is a parent to handle such situations? This kid was as tall as I was, standing there cashing in on his teeth.

Now, pawning your teeth is about the easiest way there is to make a buck. As an aside, I remember being astounded that the  American baby tooth had reached the all-time high market value of a dollar. I can’t imagine what my grandchildren will get for their teeth. Regardless, trading fallen teeth for cash is easy money. He knew it, and I knew it. But the idea of bypassing the exchange-beneath-the-pillow formality, and skipping straight to the payout seemed preposterous to me.

I couldn’t do it.

Tooth Fairy Let Downs

“But mom….” he moaned. “I’ve been reminding you guys for like four days now!”

It was true. Every morning over the past four days, he had been faithful to announce our tooth fairy delinquencies. This wasn’t a new problem for Ken and me. We’ve always struggled with timely tooth exchanges. Still, it didn’t seem right. It was like skipping the wrapping on a birthday present. Or dumping candy in the pumpkin without sending him out door-to-door.

Just as I was about to say no for the second time, he leaned forward earnestly and said, “Mom, please, please! They’re selling suckers at school tomorrow and I want a dollar so I can buy some.” Now that he had lost all of his baby teeth, he apparently wanted to work on losing the next set.

But alas, I caved in. With a sigh, I handed him the dollar and threw the tooth in the trash. So much for childlike wonder. And yet, I couldn’t help but wonder at a beautiful facet of his childlike persistence.

A Child, Asking

Have you ever thought about what God had in mind, when he designed for children to grow up in families? Parenting was his idea. Families were by his design. Children having the familiarity of coming to ask over and over was baked into Creation on purpose. For how could we understand God’s love and faithfulness toward us if we had no concept of “father” or “child”?

There’s no one else on earth I would allow to approach me with such familiarity as my children did when they were young. They would come, day after day. Hour after hour. They would stand in their pajamas with their hand out, late at night. They would file complaints, asking when I was going to remember.

They didn’t worry whether I had the dollar they were asking for. They didn’t feel badly about asking yet again. They just came pleading repeatedly and in their constant asking, I saw a quiet trust. Though I didn’t always give them what they wanted, they knew I loved them. They knew that they could ask.

This is the way we are to come to God. We are the receivers in the story. He is the Father we come to. He gives and we receive. He gives and we receive. He gives and we receive. The pattern built into our relationship is one where we the askers and He is the giver—but so often we turn this around backward.

Receivers or Givers?

I always like to see myself as the one giving something to God. I want to be be strong and able. I want to be the giver, not the receiver. Do you feel this way, too? We prefer to be self-reliant and worthy, before God. We want to be the givers, not the receivers in the relationship. We want to…

  • Bring God our perfected children.
  • Bring God our solid marriages.
  • Bring God our work and accomplishes.
  • Bring God our ministry endeavors.
  • Bring God the people we’ve evangelized.
  • Bring God the churches we’ve built.

But God wants for us to bring him our needs. Once when the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest (the biggest contributor), Jesus picked up a baby and said, “Do you want to be great? Be like this little one.” (See Matthew 18:1-4.)

The baby was the one person in the room who wasn’t contributing anything. He was the receiver, not the giver. Jesus teaches us to come to the Father over and over, saying, “Give us this day, our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Day after day, we are the receivers and day after day, our Father is the giver. If he feeds the birds and dresses the flowers, will he not be kind enough to give his children what they need?  Jesus posed this question as a matter of faith. (See Matthew 6:26-30.)

The Faith to Keep Asking

It’s one thing to ask for a dollar. But what about asking for something much bigger, after waiting much longer? That takes faith, doesn’t it?

  • It takes faith to ask for a baby after thirty-seven months of one disappointment after another.
  • It takes faith to ask for a job after being passed over in ten interviews.
  • It takes faith to ask for a husband when the last dozen first dates have been dead ends.
  • It takes faith to ask for God to bring a prodigal back after he’s been wandering for a decade.

Time gone by makes the request more painful. There’s more chance of disappointment. There’s less reason to hope. But this is when God wants us to remember that we are the child in the story and he is the Father.

Friend, God invites you to come in your pajamas with your hand out, saying, “Father, please, please!”  When you do so in all of your weakness, smallness, and inability, you give him the role of the Father. When you come repeatedly and with persistence, you take the role of the child—for only a child would be so bold as to ask so much.

There is no one on earth that God would allow to approach him with such familiarity as his children. Hour after hour, we come in our pajamas with our hands out, late at night. We file complaints, asking when He will remember. We come, repeatedly pleading. And in our constant asking, our God sees a quiet trust. 

And in our constant asking, our God sees a quiet trust. Share on X

Will You Trust Him Enough to Ask Again?

He doesn’t always give you what you ask. But He loves you, and you show that you know it’s true when you continue to ask. Ultimately, it brings him glory. Perhaps he will grant your request today. He certainly could! And one day he will fill your cup to overflowing with eternal pleasures. Either way, you are in the presence of a Father who loves you, and in that there is joy. (Psalm 16:11).

What will you have faith to ask the Father for again, today? 

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