I had unexpected play time with my granddaughter recently. We read, played with cars, colored, and made patterns on a magnetic board. We danced to a musical snowman and matched colors.
I remember moments when my girls were small, and we’d be playing, reading, or creating something, and they would pause to look at me with anticipation and intensity. It was as if they needed to ponder for a moment. They were processing and looking to me for my reaction. I would often sit in those moments to invite the pause of processing. We often want to fill the gaps, speak in the silence, finish the sentence.
As we sat face to face on the couch, my granddaughter looked at me as I explained something. She probably couldn’t understand every detail I was sharing, but I could tell she was grasping some of it and putting together the pieces. She looked at me intently, and I paused. I let the silence settle as I could almost see the processing happening behind her eyes. After some time passed, while our eyes were still locked, I asked, “What do you think?”
I could give her some information. I could explain the basics of something, but I could not determine how she processed it. All I could do was invite her conversation. She began to point to our shared task and repeat some of the same words I had used, but she then expanded by including a couple animals and friends and people. She explained it in the context of what she knew. And we continued to play and share.
I wonder if we’re like that to God at times. I wonder how we respond. He reveals himself to us. He gives us glimpses of understanding, and we receive what we’re able to grasp. When he pauses, do we break the gaze, get distracted, and move on to look for understanding somewhere else? Or do we stay locked into the face-to-face focus? When we do, he always engages. He invites us to process and express what’s going on within us. We won’t express anything in the completion of his understanding, but he invites us to share what we can. And we stay engaged with him. And it’s a pretty cool way to interact with him. The opportunities and invitations he gives us are amazing—because he is.