How I Get What I Want In Life
Their day had been incredibly busy and they were all dog-tired (whatever that term really means , it suggests they had acquired the desire, if not the opportunity, to sleep for 18 hours in a single day!)
They had been late getting home so the evening meal had been quickly thrown together and hungrily devoured. Without hesitation they decided on doing the unthinkable – the dirty dishes were left until morning. The same consensus was reached over removing the day’s grime from their tired bodies – tomorrow was another day, no need to do today what could wait until then. The kids were asleep before they were in bed and Miriam and Jake barely hit the hard bed before sleep consumed them too.
It was still dark but the deafening noise couldn’t be ignored. At first they were startled but fatigue soon worked to keep them in the place half way between waking and sleeping. That noise kept coming and coming until Jake finally realized it was real. It was not a vivid dream. As he stirred from his deep sleep he recognized his friend’s voice repeatedly shouting his name. That noise was his incessant hammering on the door. Jake was annoyed. What gave his friend the right to make all this noise at this time of night.
“Go away!” I’ve had a big day, you’re waking us all up! Who’s dying?”
“Jake, I need some food for unexpected guests. I can’t embarrass myself and I don’t have anything to give to them. Get up and get me some of your food!”
“Jake, hurry up, they’re all waiting!”
“We’re all in bed, we’ve had an exhausting day, everything is a mess in here, Go away! We’re all locked up and I’m too tired to help you just now. Go away! Scram!”
Some friends don’t actually listen to anything you say. It makes no difference, you’re wasting your breath even trying to talk to them. They just don’t get it.
Jake’s friend was like that, he was so determined to avoid being embarrassed in front of his visitors that he was willing to be completely unreasonable in his demands.
Eventually Jake got up and gave him what he wanted – it was the only way to shut him up!
So What’s the moral of the story?
If you are the friend: Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you.
If you are Jake: Just give in and give him what he wants before he ruins your whole night with his unreasonable and thoughtless demands.
To get this in perspective, try this one: You are a parent and your son asks you for some food, would you give him something harmful or would you give him what he wants?
Let’s take a chance on your answer, we’ll assume that it was a no-brainer and your automatic and unhesitating answer was along the lines, “Well duh! Of course I’d give him food, maybe not exactly what he asked for but you can bet it would be good. I am not a psycho, it would never cross my mind to give him something dangerous! I may not be the greatest parent but I do love my kid.”
By now you have recognized the stories and you remember that Jesus told something like them to his disciples when they were asking him all about prayer. Matthew 7, Luke 11.
Here’s what he didn’t mean to say with these stories:
- That prayer is our way to hound God and rouse him from his sleep so he’ll finally help us.
- The way to get God’s attention is to be so annoying that he simply can’t ignore us.
- Prayer is the incessant demands of a self-centered person who can’t plan and won’t wait.
- Prayer is demanding God to help us NOW with what we want and on our terms.
- God cares more about himself than he cares about us and so only extreme measures will rouse him to help us when we need it.
- Prayer is mindless (and obnoxious) repetition of our needs and wants until God finally gives in and answers us.
In fact, you can be absolutely certain that these thoughts were NOT what Jesus was referring to at all. Each one of them is a pathetic distortion of the concept and reality of prayer.
He gave his disciples the key when he added: “If you, who are evil, quite naturally give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask him?”
- God is reliably good and can be depended on to provide us with what we need when we need it. Antics and drama are not required for him to hear and help.
- If humans know how to respond with good things to the requests of friends and their children, HOW MUCH MORE LIKELY IS IT that God will be responsive to our requests and HOW MUCH MORE CERTAIN IS IT that God will provide good things for us.
- the key is in the “how much more!” What he’s telling us is that God is in tune with us and our situation already and the way of faith is to rely on that. His provision will always be good and it will always be on time. Instead of urgency and panic, we can find rest and reassurance. We might be tense or afraid of the things we are facing in our lives but faith tells us God is present and will provide what we need. There’s no need to start hammering on his door and yelling his name, there’s no need to endlessly repeat our needs and fears, we don’t even need to behave outrageously.
“Don’t worry about anything whatever; tell God what you need in earnest and thankful prayer and the peace of God which exceeds our human ability to understand, will keep your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7
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Posted on February 21, 2012, in Active faith, Prayer and tagged anxiety, Christ Jesus, Christianity, faith and provision, Father God, fear answered, meeting needs, peace and serenity, Prayer, Uncertainty. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.