“I need a jacket”

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This post is from the archives… (we’re still in Hawaii)

“Mommy: I cold! I need a jacket!”

My daughter has it hard-wired into her little brain that the cure for coolth (yes, it is a word) is a jacket. I can offer socks, sweaters, jerseys, scarves, woolly pants and more – but she declines all these. “No Mommy,” she says, “I need a JACKET!”

As with so many interactions with my daughter, it sheds some light on my interactions AS a daughter with God. I considered today how often I present a need to God: “I unhappy. I tired. I frustrated. I broke.” But then I also proffer the solution. “I need chocolate. I need a nap. I need a change in circumstance. I need a windfall.”

I wonder how often my parent looks down on me, sympathetic to the need, and offers better, tailor-made, higher-wisdom solutions to my presented needs: vertitable socks and sweaters to meet my felt needs – and yet I look at these and think “No! What I need is a jacket!” I think sometimes He does even more subtle things: he doesn’t just offer an alternate item to wear, sometimes I think he does the equivalent of ‘turning on the heat’ in the house; by which I mean he actually changes the climate so that need is met in a much more subtle way.

And yet still, so often, I feel that all I really, really need is a jacket.

It reminds me of something I learned from a godly, wonderful septuagenarian who faithfully came an hour early every Sunday night to make tea for the young college-student church plant I was part of in the 90’s. After setting out the tea, Uncle Arthur would join the prayer meeting. I will never forget one thing he prayed week after week. After long prayers in perfect grammar with a vast vocabulary and crafted cadences, he always ended his prayers thus: “Lord, answer not according to the poverty of our asking, but according to thy bountiful riches in Jesus Christ our Lord.”


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