By Joni Shankles
Take a ride in a car with a four-year-old and you may hear a thousand questions.
And when you least expect it, one of those questions just might change your life.
When my daughter was four, we were in the car together making the ninety-minute trek from Grandma’s house to ours after a weekend visit. From the backseat, my little one was chattering away about her Sunday School lesson at Grandma’s church – how Noah obeyed God and built an ark to save his family and all the animals, how God kept them safe in the flood, and how God showed Noah a beautiful rainbow as a sign of His promise to never flood the earth again.
And then she asked me this question: “Mommy, do you think God will show ME a rainbow?”
I hesitated for a moment.
I thought: I know a little bit about rainbows. I know about the properties of light, how light changes speed when it moves from one medium to another, how light refracts when it hits water droplets in the air, and how the wavelengths of light determine the order of colors in a rainbow from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, to violet. I know that statistically it is very likely that some time in her life, my little girl will be in the right atmospheric conditions for a rainbow to form.
After this thought process, I answered out loud, “Yes, I think God will show you a rainbow…” and finished the sentence silently “…someday.”
I waited for more questions, but none came. So I looked in my rearview mirror…and saw my little girl leaning over, face pressed to the window glass, waiting for a rainbow to appear.
I began to panic.
I told her God would show her a rainbow…and she expects it to happen today!
I kept driving the winding road in silence, trying to think of what I was going to say when we got home.
Suddenly hands were banging on the window and a voice from the backseat exclaimed, “Mommy look! He did it! He did it! I asked God to show me a rainbow and He did it!”
And so He did.
As the car came around curve, there against a deep blue sky was the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen.
I pulled over and parked the car in a gravel turn around. I unbuckled a squealing girl and we danced for joy on the side of that country road. I just happened to have my camera in the car, so I finished off a roll of film taking pictures of our magnificent rainbow in the sky. Before we got back in the car, I picked my little one up, held her close, and whispered in her ear, “God did this just for you….” and finished the sentence silently “…and for me.”
One question about a rainbow changed my life.
My little girl wanted to see a rainbow like Noah did. She asked me if it was possible. She asked God to show her a rainbow. And then she looked out the window, waiting for it to appear. We both saw God answer in glorious fashion.
That day gave me a better understanding of Jesus’ words about prayer.
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you….If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:7, 11 CSB
That day also gave me a better understanding of Jesus’ words about the faith of a child.
“Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15 CSB
And so I keep on asking, having experienced the Father’s how much more love. And I keep on receiving, having learned from my little girl how to have child-like faith.
Every time I think about her sweet face pressed against the glass watching for the rainbow she asked for, I think this: faith looks out the window.
Faith isn’t about crossing your fingers or calculating probabilities.
Faith looks out the window, watching expectantly for God to act.
Faith isn’t passive.
Faith continually orients its focus toward the Father, who gives good gifts to His children.
Faith isn’t about feelings.
Faith stands on an immovable foundation of truth, confident in God’s love.
My little girl is an adult now. She asks me bigger questions these days. The stakes seem higher, but God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I keep a grainy picture of that rainbow in the blue sky on my refrigerator, a daily reminder of my Father’s love and the lengths He will go to in order to answer a child’s prayer.
Today, my daughter and I look out the window together, knowing that on this long road home, the answer to our prayers may be waiting just around the bend. Won’t you join us?