Our eight-year-old son Jake asked to play every game at the amusement park. Over and over we said no. It seemed another game waited around every corner. He begged most for the basketball shoot.
We’d just declined another request when I noticed a father and son each dribbling basketballs, and I had an idea.
“Do you want to play the basketball game, or do you want a basketball?”
“I want a basketball,” Jake replied without hesitation.
“Would you like me to ask that man if he’ll win one for you?”
Jake’s eyes opened wide as he shrugged his shoulders and shone a magnetic grin. Hand in hand, we approached the father and son.
“Excuse me, sir,” I said. “Did you win those basketballs?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, returning my smile.
“May I ask how you won them?”
Pointing to the hoop game, he said, “It’s five dollars for two shots. If you make one shot, you get one basketball. If you make both shots, you get two.”
“Would you be willing to win a ball for my son?”
“I couldn’t do that. I wouldn’t want to lose your money.”
“How many balls did it take you to win those two?” I asked, sure I already knew the answer.
He looked at his wife self-consciously, smiled, looked at his feet then up at me. “Two,” he admitted, “I made the first two balls.”
“I like my odds,” I chuckled.
In short order, my son was bouncing a new basketball. Watching him, James 4:2 came to mind: “You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
Jake could’ve tried to win the basketball on his own, and he probably would’ve succeeded - after multiple five dollar tries. Instead, we asked someone with more skill.
So often I try to accomplish tasks in my own strength. I may eventually get the job done, wasting precious resources in the process. Other times I remember the odds and ask God for help.
Janey Goude and her husband of twenty-one years homeschool their four children, ranging from elementary school to high school. She enjoys exploring God’s open doors in writing, editing, and collaboration. Read her blog at Community Advance.
And check out our latest book review: Kisses for Kate, reviewed by Erin Dorr.