by Sam Williamson
In the last month, each of my four grown kids
asked me for advice: one asked about buying a
camera lens, one about the best way to help a
friend, one about dealing with his boss, and one
about buying a dishwasher. It is so much fun,
connecting with my kids when they ask
for advice rather than disconnecting from
my kids when I offer it unsolicited.
But this last week I talked with a grown man,
about the same age as my kids, who asks his father
about every decision he makes: where to work, what
to say to unreasonable people, and even where to
take his friends to lunch.
One of my kids (the sneaky devil) once told me he
asks for advice because he then feels more free to
disregard it. And he’s right. When he asks and
then does something else, I’m perfectly fine. At
least I felt heard.
But the man I talked with last week seemed to have
an excessive reliance on his dad for approval and
identity. When he asks for advice, he literally
lives out the phrase, “Your wish is my delight.”
It felt kind of weird. Isn’t he a grown man? As
far as I could tell, he was smart, respected
(though not always liked), and spiritually mature.
His relationship with his dad felt codependent.
That codependent kid is Jesus.
Imagine a grown, thirty-year-old man saying things
- I can do nothing by myself. I only do what I
see my Father doing.
- The Father who sent me has commanded me what
to say and how to say it.
If you were a counselor, what advice would you
give him? My inclination (totally unsolicited, of
course) would be to tell him to “Get a life.”
- I came down from heaven, not to do my own
will but the will of him who sent me.
Yet he is the one telling me to get a life; and he
tells me how to find it.
We Are Child-like
When God describes the patriarch Job, he says,
“There is no one in all the earth like my servant
Job.” Yet when Job questions what God has allowed
in Job’s life, God interrogates him:
Who is this that darkens counsel by
words without knowledge? … I will question you!
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the
earth? … Can you take charge of the lightning
bolts and have them report to you for orders?
(from Job 38)
The richest life we long for is found wholly and
solely in being child-like before God. Dependent
even. Not that we reject maturity, but that we
understand that in the highest peaks of our
greatest moments of maturity, we are still
childish before God.
As human children, we begin wholly dependent on
our parents, and we grow into healthy
independence. As spiritual children, we begin
wholly independent of God and we grow into holy
dependence. John Newton once wrote:
Our pleasure and our duty,
God’s ways are beyond our wildest imaginations. It
is precisely in child-likeness, a healthy fear of
God bound up in love, that we find the voice of
the Father we’ve always longed to hear.
Though opposite before,
Since we have seen his beauty,
Are joined to part no more.
To see the law by Christ fulfilled,
And hear his pardoning voice,
Transforms a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.
P. S. We may long to hear the Father’s voice,
but the Father longs for us to hear him even
more than we do. We simply haven’t learned to
distinguish his voice from the dozens of other
voices we hear throughout the day.
God is the good Father who wants to enter into a
divine dialogue with each one of his kids.
Williamson has published numerous articles
and has written two books.
He has a blog site, www.beliefsoftheheart.com,
and can be reached at
God in Conversation: How to Recognize
His Voice Everywhere, by Samuel C.
Williamson, published by Kregel
Publications, 2016, available from Amazon