Have you ever heard the comment, “Be careful what you ask for!”? I have heard this said many times when referencing what we pray for. One example is, “Don’t pray for patience!” It usually comes across as a warning, implying that if we pray for something in particular, God will somehow give it to us in a rather uncomfortable way. For example, under this theory, if we were to ask God for patience, He would purposely withhold things from us…not so much to lovingly help us learn something we need, but to prove a point that we are stupid for asking for it in the first place.
Over the course of his childhood, my son sometimes asked for things he did not need to have, for one reason or another. Sort of like the parents of the kid in The Christmas Story movie who asked for a BB gun (“You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”), I had to really think about whether or not to give my son certain things. Sometimes he would ask for things he was ready for, other times he asked for things he was not. Out of my love and concern, I had to consider all the variables and make a decision I thought was best for him.
Why would God be any different with us….His beloved children? Why would He viciously slap us across the face with something, just because we asked Him for something we wanted? Would He do that just to prove a point that we shouldn’t have asked for it, in some sort of a condescending way of saying, “I told you so!”? That doesn’t sound like a loving Father.
But, oh, He IS a loving Father…a perfect, loving Father. He promises to meet all of our needs (Philippians 4:19). When we ask for things that line up with His will (His understanding of what we really need), He gives abundantly (Matthew 7:7-11). He does not give us stones and snakes when we ask for our needs to be met (Matthew 7:9). And when we ask for things that we are not yet ready for (possibly unbeknownst to us), He does not get angry. He knows what we really need and when we need it, and works it out patiently, accordingly, and lovingly in our lives as He walks with us (Romans 8:28, Psalm 103:8).
So, let’s not be scared of our Papa in heaven. He loves us and invites us to seek Him. We will never be perfect in how we go about doing that, and He is perfectly okay with that. He expects it and loves us anyway!
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