If you could ask God for anything what would it be?
Fia was asked this question by her teacher on a recent Zoom Sunday School meeting and it was amusing hearing the answers the children gave. “A massive trampoline”. “A swimming pool”. “A mansion”. “Another horse!” They were honest answers, the ones you’d expect from kids, all good things.
As adults we’d have a host of different responses I’m sure. Health, world peace, an end to this corona virus, restored lives, to see a loved one again. Also good things, there are definitely a few on that list that I ask for.
Perhaps we’d also desire similar treasures to our children: to have debts paid, to have a holiday in the Maldives, a bigger home. All great things. Oh yes please! Our children’s answers are suddenly identifyable.
There are two main problems though (actually there are loads but we don’t have time to go into all of them today!) The first is we may know what we want but we don’t always know what is best for us, the second is, it’s hard enough knowing what’s best for us, how much harder is it knowing what is best for others?
If we are honest with ourselves, many of things we ask for are for our comfort, pleasure or enjoyment, which is good in and of itself. However, these may be good things, but they may not necessarily be for our own good. We avoid adversity and hardship and yet these are often the crucibles that forge the finest gold in our lives. Many times we look back on the difficult seasons and can see how they changed us for the better, whereas the easy times left us dissatisfied and unappreciative.
The context of the Sunday School teacher’s question above was the story of Solomon where, when God asked him what he would like, he asked for wisdom, and God honored his request. Solomon became the wisest man in the world. Not only that, but God also gave him untold wealth and a long life (added unguaranteed bonus).
Perhaps we do ask as Solomon did and crave to be wise.
So often we are faced by difficult choices and surrounded by confusing circumstances, it would be great to always know what the right thing was to do, wouldn’t it?
What’s amazing is that we don’t have to be a king in the old Testament to ask for wisdom as Solomon did! We could be just a regular mum dealing with unruly kids, or a teenager wondering how to manoeuvre through big life choices, if we desire wisdom, we are encouraged in the book of James in the New Testament to simply ask God for it and He will give it to you! Furthermore we have also been told that we are given scripture to equip us thoroughly for every good deed.
Apart from wisdom, there are a bunch of other traits that would make life a whole lot easier, especially as a parent in a busy home during lockdown, traits like patience, joy, peace etc. Well guess what, there should be no shortage of availability of these in our lives if we claim to be believers, as those are just three of the nine fruit He displays in those who live by the Spirit.
If it is so easy to gain wisdom and all these other good things then why don’t we all live like perfect human beings all the time? Today I discovered just how unwise it is having potplants on a shelf above a game of Lego, have you ever tried picking miniscule fake flowers and Lego heads out of a pile of real dirt? Good opportunity for practicing patience – you’d think I would have seen that one coming. (Or falling, in this case).
The challenge is not that we can’t ask God for these things nor that we won’t give them to us when we ask Him. He is a good father who delights to give his children good gifts.
Rather the problem is that we don’t avail of them when we need them, nor do we allow them to grow in our lives.
There are many reasons why we do this. We may rush into a situation with our solutions lined up before we have asked God for guidance. We may be operating out of a position of pride (we think we know better), or self-centredness (we don’t want to relinquish what we want), or unbelief (we don’t trust God to know what’s best for us). These positions then breed anger or resentment and cause us to act in ways we later regret.
We may simply choose not to.
One of God’s promises is to continually fill us with wisdom and understanding through the Spirit. If you believe God keeps his promises and, if it’s God’s good things for your life that you truly desire, be encouraged to not give up asking Him.
Finally, continue to pray for one another, that God would equip us with everything we need to reap a harvest of righteousness and contentment.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”