Just the other morning Nailah and Karianne (our twenty-month old twin daughters) were getting blueberries out of the frig while I was putting items back inside. While the frig door was open they were standing on the bottom ledge of the refrigerator as to reach in and grab “Boo-berries”. Of course, Nailah started it, and her twin sister soon followed. Naturally when I had to close the door, I asked them to move out of the way. As I gathered a few blueberries in my hands and offered a couple to each girl things unraveled a bit (this happens often in a house with four girls, two of them twins under two).
There reactions were a little bit different, one might say!
Karianne – accepts the blueberries, smiles and eats them up, then goes on her way.
Nailah -throws her self on the floor and cries, refusing the blueberries (shaking her head no, while also saying “NO!”), and then proceeds with a full out tantrum. All because I had the nerve to cut her off from direct blueberry access (by closing the frig door of course).
I was offering Nailah exactly what she wanted, “boo-berry” – I was even making it easier and safer, more effective by giving them to her- taking away the risk that she would spill them all over the floor, shatter the glass and get cut, slip on the ledge of the frig and get hurt, etc. I was offering her the very thing she was asking for . . .
but it wasn’t on her terms, and it wasn’t her way.
How often are we this way with God? We ask him for something and he gives it to us, but its not on our terms. It is not our way so we don’t see it for what it is: the very thing we asked for, the very way we need it – our answer to prayer.
In Matthew 7 Jesus teaches us about prayer by saying,
7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Jesus promises us that the Father gives us the good things we need- he hears our prayers and gives us what we ask. He makes it clear that God is not trying to trick us by messing around with his beloved children. He doesn’t give us a stone when we ask for bread because a stone will not satisfy our hunger, and its not good for us the way bread is. And he doesn’t give us a pebble when we ask for a blueberry – but he might give us a blueberry instead of letting us put our hand in the jar and take it ourselves.
Jesus reminds us that just as a Mama wants to give her child what she NEEDS, God too wants to give us what we need. And he will do just that, but do we recognize and accept it with gratitude? Or do we throw a toddler tantrum because its not our way?
Are you missing what God is giving you because its not the exact way you want it – are you missing the blueberry in your life because you want to stand on the ledge of the frig and take the blueberry out of the glass bowl yourself, instead of humbly and gratefully receiving the one be handed to you by God?
I can’t help but think, how many times do we pass up the blessings of God, not hear the gentle whisper of the Spirit, or ignore the answers to our own prayers? Why? Because our idea of what we need OR even the way we need it is not only different from God’s, but no where near as good.
Remember what God said in Genesis 1 as he created man and woman,
“So God created humankind in his image in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, . . . 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
If you are created in the image of God and favored by him, if you are GOOD, then God’s promise to give you good things is not one to take lightly. Because he loves you more than you love your own child, and he not only knows what is best for you – what is good- he plans to give it to you.
God is only going to give you good things – meaning things that are good for you. They might not always feel GOOD, seem GOOD – sometimes they might feel the opposite of good. Remember that good means you are being molded into his image, into the person he has created you to be – and good hurts sometimes because molding and shaping is not easy. It changes you, it transforms you, it grows you – and that can be hard. But good is what you should want and it is definitely what you need. And it is 100% what God wants to give you.
So if you ask for a blueberry (and that blueberry is good and part of God’s plan for you), it shall be given unto you – now take it and say thank you (and eat it up). And in that gratitude recognize that God has given you exactly what you need, in the precise way you need it, at the most perfect time – and that my friend is good.