My son plops down beside me on the sofa and says, “Dad, can you fix this? I don’t know what’s wrong with it.”
He holds up the Lego spaceship he’d bought with report card money. Three hundred pieces, complete with two figures, three lasers, and an ejection seat. It took us—me, rather—almost an hour to put it together. Now it’s in twenty pieces. Crash landing, he said.
“Sure I can fix it,” I tell him. “No problem.”
And it isn’t. I know what’s wrong with is spaceship, and I know where the pieces go. All I need is a few minutes.
I set to work. My son sits beside me, fidgeting. He wants to play with his spaceship. Now.
“Hurry up, Daddy,” he says.
I fix the landing gear first so I can have a stable platform to fix the rest. Two pieces are missing. I find them on the carpet.
More fidgeting. Then, “Daddy?”
“I don’t think that piece goes there.”
“Sure it does,” I tell him. “I remember how I did it before. Trust me.”
And he does trust me. It’s an uneasy trust though, the kind that is silent and doubting. He looks over my shoulder and sighs. Points to which pieces I should put together next and which I should save until the end. He mumbles. The whole process makes fixing what’s been broken longer and more aggravating. For him, not for me.
“I don’t think you know what you’re doing.”
“Because you’re taking too long.”
“Just wait and see,” I tell him. “I’ll have it fixed in a minute.”
But he can’t wait, and so he doesn’t see.
“Never mind,” he says. “I think I can fix it myself.”
He offers me a sad little sigh and gathers up the pieces in the towel he used to bring them to me. Off he goes back to his bedroom.
I shake my head at his impatience. My son is too young and too inexperienced to know how to fix his toy. He’ll try, of course, and trying is a good thing. But in the end he’ll succeed only in putting it together wrong. It will be imperfect, less than it should be. My son will know that, but he’ll take a flimsy sort of solace in the fact that at least the fixing is done and the playing can begin.
I can’t blame him for this.
There are a lot of times when I bring a mess to God and say, “Father, can you fix this? Fix this problem or this situation. Fix this life. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I just know it’s crashed and broken.”
“Sure I can fix it,” He tells me. “No problem.”
And it isn’t a problem. God knows what’s wrong. And He can fix it, too. He knows what’s wrong and where all the pieces go.
He sets to work. I want it fixed now, so I fidget. Hurry, I tell him. Hang on, He answers. I fidget more. Time passes, and I begin to wonder if He really knows what He’s doing. I’ll look over His shoulder and offer my own advice about what goes where and what needs done now and what can wait.
You’re not doing it right, I say. Wait and see, He tells me.
But I can’t wait. And because I can’t wait, I never see.
“I’ll just fix it myself,” I finally say. Then I pick up my problems and trudge off.
But this I know: my son will be back soon. He’ll see that getting things fixed right is worth the wait. Especially when he realizes he can’t fix it right on his own.
And God knows I’ll be back, too.