My son was just a few years old, and he’d probably seen more rainy days than sunny ones in his short life. That’s what happens when you grow up in Ireland. I found him looking at his wet toys through the glass doors:
“Daddy, can you turn off the rain?”
It wasn’t a question, as much as a request. He wasn’t asking about whether I was capable of such a thing. He fully believed that I was. He just wanted to know if I would.
If I had reached somewhere above his head and flipped a switch, he wouldn’t have been surprised at all to see the rain suddenly stop falling and the sun break through the clouds. He would have opened the door and run outside to play, without even pausing to admire my miraculous powers. Isn’t that what daddies do?
I don’t have a switch like that.
If I did, I’d want to leave it off all the time for him, and Ireland wouldn’t stay green for long. But I don’t, so I had to kneel down and explain to my trusting child that his confidence had been misplaced. That I am not the all-powerful-fixer-of-all-problems he thought I was.
He doesn’t ask me to turn off the rain anymore. It feels like a loss, and a sign of growth. I still can’t change the weather, and I can’t solve most of the other problems he’ll face in life, either. I wish I could be as strong as he used to think I was, but the rain falls on my head, too.
There was only ever one man who turned off the rain. The boat was sinking in a storm, and everyone thought they were doomed, until Jesus said “Peace, be still” and the rain turned off. They were astonished and afraid, but my son wouldn’t have been. He would have smiled and played in the sunshine as if nothing unusual had happened.
And that’s how I want him to pray – with the same confidence he used to have in me. Not a question, a request: knowing Jesus can, and trusting that if he knows it’s best, he will.