By McLean Murphy
“Can I tell you something?”
What a simple question, and yet, God has used this to deepen my understanding and gratitude of His character.
You see, the past two years, my 5-year-old has started out nearly every conversation with this question. Every time he has a comment to make, a story to tell, or a question to ask, he begins with, “Can I tell you something?”
I never know what is coming next. Sometimes, he shares about something he’s learned at school; sometimes it is the beginning of a wild, imaginative story; and even sometimes what follows is an admittance of a deep hurt or a bad part in his day.
My son uses “Can I tell you something?” to make sure I’m listening. It is his question that allows me to slow down, stop what I’m doing, and say, “Of course. You can tell me anything.” God placed it on my heart to start using this response now because I want it to sink deep in his heart. I want him to know that his daddy and I are a safe place.
These conversations with my son always evoke a feeling of gratitude inside of me. It is a privilege to be on the receiving end of his thoughts. His words allow me to glimpse into that brilliant, imaginative, caring mind of his. And something about those moments are beautifully vulnerable. I think it is mostly because I don’t know what is coming out of his mouth next. It could be the silliest thing ever spoken, but it could also be a window into his heart.
I envision this is the way God responds to us when we begin to speak to him. While I sometimes launch into a conversation with Him, there are other times when I approach Him more slowly. When I am hurting or weary and in the quiet of my heart I ask our Good Father, “Can I tell You something?”
I picture Him stopping what He is doing (oh you know, just making the world go round), turning to face me, giving me eye contact and saying, “Of course. You can tell me anything.” And with great relief from out of my heart flows the truths of my fears, my victories, my questions, my praise.
It is this open-ended communication with God that leaves me breathless, emotional, and grateful. Who am I that the King of kings and Lord of lords would want to listen to my little thoughts and feelings? With what except gratitude can we respond to this deep truth? He delights in hearing from me.
One of my favorite stories in scripture is found in Mark chapter 5. It is actually two stories in one. Side by side, these stories weave in and out. It begins in verses 22 and 23 when a man named Jairus throws himself at Jesus’ feet “and pleads earnestly with him.” You see, Jairus was a synagogue ruler, very respected, but also very broken. His 12-year-old daughter was dying. Desperate, he sought out the only one who could heal her. Desperate, he asked Him to come and put His hands on her so she would live. Desperate, he looks Jesus in the eye and says “Can I tell You something?” Can I tell you that the worst possible scenario is my living reality?
“Of course. You can tell me anything.”
At the same time, there is another person desperate at the scene. An unnamed woman who has been bleeding for 12 years slips in among the crowd gathered around Jesus and Jarius. The same number of years that Jarius has loved his little girl, this woman has lived in agony and embarrassment. In verse 28 she believes “if I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” In faith, she reaches out and grasps His cloak. She is immediately restored. Knowing what had happened, Jesus pauses in his conversation with Jairus to ask “Who touched my clothes?”
“Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth (v. 30, 33).” Jesus invites her to share her hurts and pains. He promises to listen and to care. He promises to answer her question when she asks, “Can I tell you something?” Tenderly he assures her.
“Of course. You can tell me anything.”
Jesus then leaves the woman made whole to go and make Jairus’ daughter whole again. He is so intentionally relational. My heart swells and my eyes brim with tears when I think about how intentionally relational He is. He could have just allowed power to go from Him to heal the woman and never turned around to talk to her. But that’s not Him. He kneels down and holds her hand and listens well. He could have snapped His fingers and healed Jairus’ daughter. But that’s not Him. He walks with Jairus all the way to his house to heal her.
Imagine the things they talked about on that walk. Imagine the way Jairus felt every other time he walked down that road. This is the road I walked with Jesus. This is the road where He listened to me and then healed my daughter. Two lives changed, two grateful hearts, and one beautiful God, eager to listen to the depths of our souls.
I am grateful for a God who allows me to bring anything to Him. I am grateful that He invites me into a conversation, invites me to tell Him the whole truth. He beckons at me to share my heart with Him in prayer because, of course, I can tell Him anything.