I recently got reacquainted with the movie, "Fiddler on the Roof." I hadn't seen it for a long time, at least not since I was old enough to understand what was going on. I did see the play about 5 years ago, I think. But my memory of that is blurred as well.
There are many powerful moments in the movie, but towards the end (or at least into the third hour), one scene stood out to me.
Daughter Hodel and her fiance approach her father and ask for his congratulations on their engagement. He protests the engagement, but they reply, "We are not asking for your permission. Only for your blessing. We are going to get married."
You can feel Tevye's shock and disappointment as his fatherly role is challenged. Of course it is the matchmaker's task to make a match, but the daughter's hand still belongs to her father. This should have been his moment to shine and make the decision that he had the right to make for each of his daughters. But instead, he is offered only the opportunity to bless a decision that had already been made.
But at that moment, I thought, isn't that how we approach God sometimes? "Lord, bless me." We want Him to bless our plans that we have made without consulting His guidance. We want Him to purify us though we haven't yet confessed our sin. We want Him to fix our mistakes that we made because we went wandering about the world without His counsel. We hurry along, thinking how independent we are. And then we come timidly back with a supplication. "Lord, could you help me out a little here?"
And He is merciful.