Granddaughter Jillian is three years old, which means she knows her own mind and isn’t willing to let someone else impose their mind on hers.

I learned several visits ago that it’s pointless to say, “Take my hand,” when we step out of a restaurant into busy traffic. Jillian’s answer to that directive is, “No.”

A forceful grasping of that little hand brings an instant reaction: Jillian becomes a writhing, crying bundle of protest. Then, holding her hand isn’t enough.

But somewhere along the way, Papa learned to say, “Jillian, take my finger.” Jillian’s response is completely different. As we stepped out of Perkins Friday night, Jillian was leading the way with the sprightly, carefree step that of an adventurous three-year-old, so I said, “Jillian, take my finger.”

She pushed through the door and stepped onto the walkway, then reached back and took my finger. Without a single word to coax or remind her, she held fast to Papa’s finger for a couple of laps around the restaurant until her parents emerged and it was time to get into the car.

We spent an hour at a city playground yesterday, and Jillian was in her element–running, laughing, climbing, and sliding down the spiral turrets of the playground slides. At one point, she climbed up onto a masonry wall surrounding the playground, where older children were teetering with outstretched arms to practice their balancing skills. But Jillian had a plan. As soon she she stood up on the wall, she looked at me and said, “Hold your finger.”

Papa dutifully extended his finger, Jillian gripped it firmly, and walked with confidence around the ring where children twice her age were wobbling and wavering on their own.

So many times, I feel frustrated because God does not give me the firm, clear direction that I pray for. After a weekend with Jillian, I wonder if I’ve been expecting too much. Perhaps I’ve been waiting for my Father to say, “Take my hand,” when He doesn’t intend to guide me in that irresistable way. He’s not saying, “Take My hand”–much as I want Him to!–but He’s walking behind me (behind me) and gently saying, “Take My finger.”