My parents never helped me with my homework. Why? The assumption was, if I paid attention in class and read the chapter, any boy of average intelligence should be able to do the assignment.
Most of us believe we’re above average, which may be a statistical impossibility, but it’s a positive attitude that keeps us working, discovering our potential. I was no exception. I paid attention, read the chapter, and worked the problems—without my parents’ help.
Twenty years later, my son sat at the kitchen table and stared at his book. He stared blankly into space, then down at the book. “Would you help me?” he said.
What I heard was, I wasn’t paying good attention in class. I only skimmed over the chapter. And you’d be a wonderful dad if you would do my homework for me. I pointed at his book. “Have you read the chapter?”
“Uh… yes,” he said in a half-hearted tone.
“Go back and read the chapter again. Then, if you can’t figure out the answer, come see me.”
He didn’t come for my help.
In the next month, this scenario repeated itself twice. After that, he might ask if I knew a certain thing was true, as if he were testing me to see if I knew as much as he did. But he never asked for help with his homework. Why? He knew he was smart enough to figure out the problems on his own.
Another twenty years later, he had a family of his own. One day, he had to deal with a problem he had never faced before.
“What will you do?” I said.
“I don’t know.” He didn’t sound worried at all. “I’ll figure it out.”
Could it be that God treats us in a similar way? Maybe he wants us to go back and read the chapter, understand the problem, and know that in Christ, we can do all things.