Thursday, April 4, 2013

What We Need and What We Want

My life is overflowing with blessings. Sometimes it feels as if they were just dumped by the bucket load on my head. My parents are very, very generous towards me. They give me so much, and make my life so easy. They provide me with a roof over my head, a warm bed every night of my life, food whenever I need it, books to read, clothes to wear, shoes for my feet, medicine when I’m sick. They pay for my education, and even care enough about it to give me my education at home. Above all else, they raised me in God’s church, and taught me about His Word from a very young age. My dad is an especially generous dad, because he goes above and beyond what is necessary for him to do. Ever since I can remember he’s done things like take me to the gas station for snacks and drinks when we were driving around town; he’s willing to drive me wherever I need to go, and he doesn’t complain; he buys me not just clothing to keep me warm, but pretty clothes and shoes that are not necessarily needs, but wants. He spends his time on me, not just his money. He provides for my needs, and far beyond what I even ask for, and I’m sure that your dad does as well, because that’s what loving fathers do.
Now, just because I want something, does that mean I always get it? No, absolutely not. If that were the case, I’d have a whole petting zoo filled with fluffy animals that I wouldn’t know how to take care of. My dad doesn’t give me everything I ask for for a few reasons. He either said “no” because he knew I didn’t really need what I was asking for (I mean, do I really need a pony? No), or we didn’t have the money for it, or he was saving his money for something special later on, like a road trip or Christmas presents. He wasn’t saying “no” just to be mean and make me sad.
Just like my earthly father, my Heavenly Father provides for my needs, even better than my dad can. In Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus says, “Or which of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Without my even asking for them, He granted me a loving family, a loving church family, citizenship in a country which protects my God-given freedom of speech and religion, and good health. He’s blessed me with salvation, which was purchased by His Son’s Blood, and the ability to be a member of His Church. He gave me His Word, and the ability to read and study it on my own so I can know what He’s done for me, and what I am expected to do in return. He blesses me by answering my prayers. In Matthew 7:7-8 we read, “Ask and it will be given to you; Seek, and you will find; Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened.” Also, look in John 14:13-14. Jesus told His apostles, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” As evidenced in this scripture, God and Christ want to bless us, and the only stipulation is that we must first ask for it.
But, also like our earthly fathers, God will say no to us on occasion. Is this to be mean to us, or to teach us a lesson? No! God denies us things we ask for when He knows they’re not good for us, and there’s something better waiting for us up on the horizon. I can’t tell you how many times God has said no to one thing I’ve asked only to give me something better later on, which I wouldn’t have been able to have if I had gotten what I wanted previously. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” If we trust in God and His ability to provide what we need, and to never abandon us, He will make straight our paths, and guide us with His Word, like it says in Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” We must also trust that he says “No” with good reason.
Again, God wants to bless us, but we must first ask. So, Pray without ceasing like it says in First Thessalonians 5:17, and remember that in Romans 8:28 we’re told, “for those who love God, all things work together for good.”