This man was on the beach watching all the cute girls and soaking up the sun. A bottle washed up on shore in the surf and landed a few feet away from where he was tanning. It was a curious looking bottle, a little ornate, yet weather worn. He walked over to it, picked it up and took the cork out expecting a note to be inside and instead a puff of smoke came out and a genie appeared. “What’s your wish?” the genie asked. “Wow, so cool!” he exclaimed, “I want all the ladies to want me and love me. I want all these beautiful ladies to find me irresistible!” At that the genie said, “Your wish is granted!” …..and he turned the man into chocolate.
Mark 10:35 (TNIV)
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
I’m making a list of all the things I want, checking it twice. I know that God is gonna look at it and decide if I have been naughty or nice. Then He will give it all to me because I asked for it, right? NOT! It is such a temptation to treat God like Santa Clause or some magic genie.
The truth is, God is our Father and He wants what is best for us……..not just to meet our every whim and fantasy about what we “think” we need. God, indeed, Jesus, doesn’t write us a blank check and say. “Here, write in any amount”.
It’s funny, we often tend to make God into who we want Him to be…..yet the truth is……He is who He is! It is an exciting journey discovering who God really is in our lives rather than being disappointed by trying to make Him into what we want Him to be.
There are times that we “think” we know what is best for us, yet in fact, we have no clue.
Years ago when my wife and I started Financial Peace University, I felt one of the keys to be able to spend time doing the finances together was purchasing computer armoire that we could use to organize and hold all of our financial information. This would make it easy for us. I just knew it! I could come home from work, we could open up the doors to the armoire and “wha-la” everything would be in one place, ready to go to work! My wife though different. I insisted that this was the answer that would enable me to do things right! After putting up with my insistence, my pouting and my rebellion over not getting my way…Kelly finally relented. I purchased the armoire, and there it sits in our back room, never used for that purpose. I was so sure this was the answer!
My point is this, so often we “think” we know the answer. So often we can justify our reasoning. So often we “know” what’s best for us….and so often we are wrong! I have learned to “humble down” when my wife disagrees and to look closely at her reasoning because I know that often I am wrong and want to act on impulse. I also know that often when I get something in my head that it is hard to let it go.
Now, it’s time for us all to “humble up” to Jesus. When we pray, it is better to pray for God’s will rather than our “well thought out” answers. It is better to trust in His wisdom than to trust in our impulses. Indeed, be careful about using those words, “I prayed about it” simply to justify your wants. Did you really pray for it, willing to accept that maybe the answer wasn’t what “you” wanted? Or did you pray and plough through thinking, “yes, God agrees!”
In prayer, we certainly do and should talk to God about our needs and wants. Understand that God in His wisdom, like any good parent or true friend, might see that what we want isn’t what’s best for us. Understand that not only does God have the right to say no……it is in our best interest when He does!
I have often said that God is not a cosmic vending machine. Well, truth is, He is no a cosmic Santa Clause or a cosmic genie either. Indeed, when we, in pride, seek only what “we” want…….we may get it and it may not lead to the end result we “knew” it would. That man on the beach got chocolate!