by Heather Bock
Last week I wrote about how we make a wish list for God, but just like my son choosing an off-brand Lego set that falls apart as he tries to assemble it, we don’t always know what are the best items to add to the list. We might ask His will to be done in our list, but often, we’re really desiring our own will to be done. Sometimes, just as I double check my children’s Amazon wish lists and talk to them about questionable items, I believe God, as a loving Father, says no to some of our items as well.
However, let’s not forget that our Father (and He is a good Father) wants us to go to Him with our requests. (By the way, I wrote about God giving us good gifts once, if you want more.) Sometimes from the way I hear some people talk, it seems they believe we’re not as spiritual if we ask God for anything for ourselves. Now, maybe they’re right if we’re asking for a giant flat screen tv or a sports car, but God does want us to boldly go to Him with our needs and even our desires. Let me give a few examples with some lessons I think we can learn.
The account of how the sons of Jacob were born is disturbing to me. These people are proof that God does not wait to give good gifts to those who have a pure heart. Jacob was married to two sisters (that’s another crazy story). His first wife, Leah, was having plenty of babies, but his second wife, Rachel, didn’t have any. Rachel was jealous of her sister and did not appear to pray to God for a son but instead demanded one from her husband, threatening suicide if he wouldn’t deliver. After her maid had children by Jacob, she finally became pregnant herself and gave birth to a son. Finally, she prayed to God, saying, “May the LORD give me another son” (Gen. 30:24). God didn’t give her what she desired for a long time, but she finally did give birth to one more son before she died (Gen. 35:17). God is generous even to very broken people.
In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable “to show that at all times [we] ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Lk. 18:1). In this parable, an unrighteous judge does not want to help a widow, but she is persistent, to the point that he feels he will be worn out if he doesn’t give her what she needs. For selfish reasons, he finally relents and helps her. Jesus said at the end, “Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night and will He delay long over them?” (Lk. 18:7). God wants us to continually cry out to Him with our needs, even if the same need is repeated.
The same message is in the parable that Jesus told about the friend who persistently asks a neighbor for bread at midnight–even if the friend doesn’t want to get up and help, he will because otherwise the neighbor will drive him nuts. Jesus’ conclusion was, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (Lk. 11:9-10). Does this mean He grants us everything we ask? No, as I wrote in my last Wednesday Words, sometimes a good Father needs to say no to certain items on a wish list. Our Father gives us good gifts, and sometimes only He knows what those are. Jesus’ next words in this same passage show us this.
Jesus followed the parable by asking if a father would give his son a snake in place of a fish or a scorpion in place of an egg. No, of course, a father would give his son the sustenance he needs, not something that would harm him. Jesus made a parallel, saying, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Lk. 11:13). God not only gives us what we need physically (the sustaining protein of fish or eggs), but He gives us what we need spiritually, His own Holy Spirit. I would say that even if He doesn’t give us what we need physically for our good (Rom. 8:28), He will always give us what we need spiritually.
After all these examples, what can we learn? I believe we are encouraged in the Bible to repeatedly and unashamedly ask for what we need and even want. Even the straightforwardness of the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11), models a bold request without groveling. Although we should check our heart in what we request, we don’t have to wait to ask until our motives are perfectly pure. We wouldn’t be able to ask Him for anything if we did that. Finally, we can be sure that God, as a good Father, will give us good gifts. We don’t always know what good gifts look like, but we can keep asking and trusting our Father to supply.
Another Journal the Word NKJV Bible Giveaway and Announcement of The Broken Way Book Study and DVD Winner
I wrote a review of the Journal the Word NKJV Bible at the end of one of my posts several weeks ago. It’s a great Bible for those who like to jot down the lessons they’re learning as they read or for those who like to artistically represent the verses they love.
I’m glad to say that I get to give away one more copy of this Bible. If you’d like to enter my drawing, subscribe to my blog:
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Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada only who have not won any giveaways from this blog for one year.
I will announce the winner next Wednesday, so look for it!
Speaking of winners, I now get to announce the winner of the giveaway I started last Wednesday. The winner of Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way Book Study Guide and DVD is Vincent Artale Jr. Congratulations! Please contact me with your address, so I can send it out to you as soon as possible. Also, please let me know if you decide to do this study with a group, so I can enter you in the drawing for the Skype session with Ann Voskamp herself.