“Mom, can you help me study for my science test?” my 13-year-old son, Nathan, asked.

“I’d be happy to,” I replied. We sat down at the table and he handed me his textbook. He was showing me which pages he’d be tested on when my cellphone rang. Nineteen-year-old Julia was calling from college.

“It’s your sister,” I told Nathan. “You read over the chapter, and I’ll be right back to help.”

Help Wanted

I answered the phone while I headed to the other room so I wouldn’t distract Nathan.

“Mom, I need advice,” Julia explained. “I interviewed for two different summer internships, hoping I’d be offered one or the other. But today, I received offers from both of them. How do I choose?”

“That’s a tough one,” I said. “Tell me more about each job.”

She offered more details, and we weighed the pros and cons of each option. After 15 minutes, Nathan came in and sat down next to me. “You said you’d be right back to help me,” he whispered.

“Jules needs my help, too,” I whispered back.

"God’s not going to magically implant Chapter 3 of your science book into your brain." DIANE STARK

Nathan sighed and folded his arms across his chest.

“Have you prayed about this?” I asked Julia.

“Not yet. I feel so overwhelmed. I really need to make a wise decision.”

“Pray about it,” I said. “There’s a Bible verse found in James 1:5 that explains if you need wisdom, you should ask God and He will give it to you generously. He’ll help you, Jules. All you have to do is ask.”

As we prayed together over the phone, I heard Nathan get up and leave the room.

After praying, Julia was feeling better. “I’ll write down the pros and cons we talked about and keep praying,” she said.

“That’s a good plan. Call me back if you need to talk some more. Love you, Jules.”

Learning to Trust

We hung up and I went back to the kitchen, where I expected to find Nathan studying. Instead, he was in the living room watching TV.

“What are you doing?” I asked. “You’re supposed to be reading your science book.”

“I don’t need to. I heard what you said about asking God for wisdom, so I just did that instead.”

I couldn’t help laughing. “Nate, it doesn’t work that way.”

“But you told Julia that God would give her wisdom if she just asked Him.”

“That’s true. He will. It’s fine to ask God for help while you study. You can ask for wisdom to decide which facts are important to know. God wants to help you. But He’s not going to magically implant Chapter 3 of your science book into your brain. You have to do the work.”

“But you told Julia that God would just give her wisdom.”

“Nathan, think about all of the work she’s already done,” I explained. “She didn’t just ask God to give her a summer job. She applied for them and went to the interviews. I’m sure she prayed along the way, and God blessed her with two great opportunities. But she had to do the work.”

He nodded. “I understand. I’ll go study.”

“Do you want to pray first?”

He smiled and reached for my hands. “God, I’m sorry that I tried to take the easy way out. Please help me while I do my part and work hard. Amen.”

I hugged Nathan and said, “I think God is already answering your prayer for wisdom. Not for your science test, but for something far more important.”

“Learning to trust Him, right?”

I nodded. “It’s a lesson we have to learn and re-learn for our whole lives, but you’re off to a great start.”

Diane Stark is a wife, mother of five and freelance writer from rural Indiana. She loves to write about the important things in life: her family and her faith.

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