“Dear Santa… Christmas is coming in a few months, so I need to ask for a few things. Please bring me endless motivation for my workouts. And a lifetime supply of chocolate that won’t make me gain any weight. Oh, and a pony. Don’t forget the pony.
Sharita lo quita jo mama
PS– When you bring the pony, please supply a revised housing contract that states we can house farm animals in our backyard on a military post.
PSS– Oh, and you know when I asked for consistent weather? I take it back. Please take away the endless high temps and excessive humidity from Georgia. Sporatic Kansas weather was fine.”
Ever heard the phrase “Be careful what you wish for?” Just like some of the ridiculous requests that we dream up in our mind that WE think would be “good” for us, we tend to ask God for things we want, but what probably wouldn’t be the best (in the long run) if we received it. So, welcome to Part 2 of “Ask and it will be given to you.” (Luke 11:9)
God isn’t our “Santa” or “Genie in a Bottle.” He is MUCH grander than that. He is all powerful AND all-knowing… and since he is all knowing, he can see (and already knows) the bigger picture plan. So if we ask something and it doesn’t happen according to our “plan” it is probably because His will has a different path.
I remember when I was still very much a baby Christian, and would pray a robot prayer every night before I went to sleep. It was a rather immature prayer (rightfully so), same thing every night, and I would always end my list of requests with “May your Will be done.” The kicker? I ended it “officially” before the AMEN with a little subscript or whispered heart message of “May your will be done… as long as it doesn’t hurt me or cause me pain.” Yeah, bout that.
That is the thing with being a Christian– we have to have the FAITH to ask that whatever he has planned for us is legit. Because it is. Seriously. Part of Romans 12:2 reminds us that “…you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” His will is GOOD, PLEASING and PERFECT. We have probably all asked for something, it didn’t happen, things did a 180, it totally stunk at the time but now we look back and can say “Ohhhh NOW I get it. Thanks for that one, God. Good call, man.” It’s His perfect will at work.
God always answers. I’ve heard His answers range from “Yes, Not Yet, or I have something better planned.” Psalm 38:15 says “I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.” It can’t hurt to ask… But sometimes the answer (or the waiting) does hurt. I can’t explain death, sin and evil in this world and why He lets it happen. (I vote we blame Satan’s presence and Adam/Eve’s inability to not chomp on the fruit, and thats a whole ‘nother blog post) It IS on my list to grab a Grande Skinny Caramel Macchiato and have a sit down with Him when I get to heaven to ask/discuss such topics. But in the meantime, we can rejoice in the fact that He WILL (and always) answers us in the form that is best for ourselves big picture and for his Kingdom. After all, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”(Proverbs 24:26) Since He is our groom and we are the bride, we can squeal internally (or externally if you want) every time we get any answer from Him. So pucker up for this next story…
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!” The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it’s way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!” The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”
Years passed. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. “Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said.
The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It’s perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!”
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me,” he muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and made into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, so instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” The once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”
Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She new she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
We might not get what we ask for, but God will grant us something MUCH greater than we could have dreamed (ultimately ending in a reunion with Him in heaven!) What will you be asking for as you pray today?
According to His Will,
“I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD, and I will obey your decrees.” –Psalm 119:145