There are many lessons I didn't really even begin to understand about my walk with God until after I was married. Many of these began specifically after Myndall and I had kids. I want to share some of these.
Answers to prayer versus growth
One powerful moment was when my oldest, Ella, was just a few months old and she was just at the phase where she was learning to roll over and lift herself up by the strength of her own arms. I distinctly remember lying next to her on the bed. She was getting so frustrated. I knew exactly what she was trying to do, and I had the ability to make that happen for her by simply reaching down and rolling her over. That would have been an "answer" to her request of me. She would have gotten what she wanted so, so badly. Here's one strange observation. It was not a matter of me NOT wanting her to roll over. I also wanted her to do that. I was basically cheering her on. So, if that was the case why did I not simply roll her over and give her rest from her straining? It was because I knew that she needed to develop her own strength to be able to do this. Not only was this important for her in regards to being able to roll over, but with each new time that she rolled over on her own strength, it would inevitably put a crazy notion that perhaps she could even sit up on her own. This would lead to the nutty thought that she might even be able to move from place to place on her own by crawling, etc., etc. You get the idea.
God's Provision and Protection
Another aspect to the situation with Ella on the bed trying desperately to roll over as I simply watched is that even though it looks at a glance like I am callously allowing my daughter to strive and couldn't care less. Let's look at it a bit more carefully. First, as I have stated, she was struggling on a bed not a concrete floor. The bed had clean sheets on it. She was wearing clean clothes as she struggled. We were in a home that allowed her to struggle in a safety that she was not even old enough to understand the need for. This house had central heating and air conditioning which provided the optimal temperature to engage in rolling over exercises. She was wearing a clean diaper recently changed by either myself or more likely her mother. She was clean because she'd recently been given a bath. Downstairs there was a kitchen with food in it that she had been and would be fed when hungry. Etc. Etc. Again....you get the idea. In other words, the struggle she was undergoing while FROM HER POINT OF VIEW seemed overwhelming and frustrating was actually taking place within a very carefully controlled and protective environment designed to give her maximum opportunity to gain newfound rollover skills.
Hearing from God
Another angle to my walk with God has to do with hearing from God and how to think of that concept. Just remember these are simply the ramblings of a trucker theologian. Lord knows many think there should not even be such a thing allowed to exist, but, well, here we are. We tend to think that we are simply not hearing from God because for whatever reason he is not speaking to us. I want to be clear that God is in no way limited by OUR limitations; however, keeping with the spirit of the above rollover dilemma and God's apparent emphasis on growing OUR capacity, I submit the following thought.
What if the issue is something more like this? When you speak to a baby, the baby knows that something meaningful is taking place even if and when it cannot truly "understand" you in the way we think of language and paragraphs and dictionaries. Communication is SO much deeper than that, and upon reflection, this is self evident to us if we consider the last time we spoke to a baby.
I believe many would acknowledge that they have a sense of very basic moral struggles in various circumstances. You have something/someone seeking to teach you the morally right decisions to make if you are born again. There are probably also often times that you have a sense that you should be careful. Perhaps there is a relationship that is not inherently wrong, but it seems like very possibly, it poses a danger to your walk with God. Also, there are times if you are a child of God that you probably sense that you have not been spending quality time with God in prayer, Bible, and Christian friends hanging out and being encouraged or challenged. Perhaps these three examples, the sensitivity of conscience, an alertness to danger, and a call to be in the presence of God and other believers is like the baby hearing its parent communicate. Just because we don't hear words doesn't mean He isn't communicating with us. Basically, what if the issue with how clearly and regularly we are or are not hearing from God is simply about how much we have embraced the notion that God wants us to grow. Are we willing to let go of misguided notions of the Santa God? Are we willing to truly pursue growth rather than flirt with bitterness when God doesn't give us what we ask for? I'm embarrassed to say too often I'm the baby, and God is trying to get me to grow NOT because He is so harsh but BECAUSE he wants to have much more meaningful and clear interaction with me, but I need to get off my butt and trust Him as He pushes me to grow. Strangely, the road to better communication with God the Father is the same as the baby's road to better communication with the father. Keep talking and keep listening. We will eventually understand more and will be able to talk with words that speak to the Father. AND we will hear the words of the Father and more clearly understand them. The bottom line is that the less we depend on our misguided notion of what should happen next in our growth, the better off we are. Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be thy name!