Travel with me for a moment. Let’s go back in time to your childhood. We are around your dinner table with your family. Look at your plate. What’s the last food that’s left? If you were anything like me it was squash, carrots, or peas; the healthy stuff was always last. I begged my mom for dessert before I had finished eating the food that was good for me. More often than not I had a little tantrum when I had to eat my healthy portions first. I didn’t have a good grasp of what was good for me or what I would appreciate in the long run. I’m guessing you were the same way, unless you were born loving peas. If that’s you then you get a round of applause.
We have grown out of this because we now see the benefit of eating fruits and vegetables. While this maturation often happens naturally in the physical world, it can be less natural in our spiritual lives. Think about times where you asked (or begged) God to do something and He didn’t respond the way you wished He would; I can think of plenty in my life.
When we don’t get something that we’ve prayed for, what does the enemy want us to believe? God doesn’t want you to be too happy. He hasn’t been paying much attention to you lately. You’ve messed up a lot in your past. Fill in the blank with your own personal lie that you struggle with.
When we don’t get something that we’ve prayed for, what does the enemy want us to believe?
Often my response is thinking that the Lord is holding out on me. I think that He is not giving me what I want just because He wants me to wait, or He has some “lesson” He wants me to learn, or maybe He is waiting for my heart to be in the right place. The root of the issue is that I am hurt by God and I’m tempted to believe that He has forgotten about me or doesn’t see my desires or pain.
Lately the Lord has been bringing these verses to mind and convicting me in the way I view Him:
“…Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a 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!” (Matthew 7:9-11).
I am so thankful for these verses that give us a firm truth to hold on to when we doubt God’s motives. This verse tells us that when we ask for something (and I don’t see any limitations here so I’ll even say anything) God promises to give us what is most nourishing for us. He promises not to give us a serpent or a stone (even though it may feel that way) but to give us nourishment! I have to speak this to myself all the time. “This is what is best for me. He is giving me what I need.” The more I grow in my walk with God and the knowledge of His love for me, I don’t mind the “fruit and veggies” He gives me. And the more I am abiding, the more I actually want what’s good for me! I start craving the nourishing situations more than the ones that just make me feel good.
He promises not to give us a serpent or a stone (even though it may feel that way) but to give us nourishment!
If you are in a place in life where you feel like God is holding out on you, remember this: when we ask things of God, He promises to give us nourishment, not pain without reason. And if you pay attention as time goes on, you may find yourself appreciating the things that are harder to swallow and thanking God for not allowing you to go straight to dessert.
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Image Credit: EvelynGiggles, Creative Commons