Working in a coffee shop I encounter lots of different people there. Nice, awkward, quiet, the talkers, the rude ones, non-tippers, and the gracious tippers. (Your barista thanks you.) I've noticed that there are pretty much two ways that people ask for their order when they approach the counter. They either say, "Can I have..." or "Give me a..." That last one usually doesn't affect me unless they say it with a certain tone in their voice, but most of the time it's just their normal way of asking. But, if you just focus on the words, they are very different. "Can I have..." is more approachable and easy-going, it's nice and pleasant and asking. "Give me a..." is, simply put, more demanding. It perceives urgency or entitlement. I'm not writing all of this to complain about customers. These two phrases have actually made me think about the way that I approach and talk to God.
Oftentimes I approach God using that second phrase. I come to Him thinking I'm entitled to everything, that just because I'm here, and His daughter, I should get everything I ask for.
Give me a car.
Give me a full-time job.
Give me that relationship I've been waiting for.
Give me, give me, give me.
Yes, it is true that He works for our good in all things. But, He doesn't give us things just because we are good. If that was the case, we wouldn't have much of anything. We are full of sin, greed, lust, lots of things besides goodness. Any goodness that is inside of us comes directly from Him, because He is good. He is working good through things in our lives, pointing us back to Himself and giving us little gifts that we may not realize.
"Give me a car", I say. Instead, He says I'm going to carpool to work with my Dad, spending more time with him and having some awesome conversations.
"Give me a full-time job," I say. Instead, He says I'm going to continue working at the coffee shop, where I'm freely able to listen to people and see more of their hearts, see them walk back into a church, and pray for them.
"Give me that relationship I've been waiting for," I say. Instead, He says I'm going to wait just a little bit longer and during that wait I'm going to draw closer to Him, learn more about myself, and who I am in Him.
He works good in all things! In all situations! Even when we don't want to see it. Even when we don't understand it.
Does this mean that we can't approach God with the things that we want? That we can't tell Him the desires of our heart? That we can't hope for things that may come? Of course not! After all, He already knows the desires of our hearts. He searches our minds.
Scary isn't it? Even the things that we think we can keep from him, that we think are our deepest and darkest secrets or our deepest and darkest desires, He already knows them all.
Although He may already know everything that crosses our minds, it is still good for us to speak out loud our wants. To voice our opinions and ask Him directly for those things. Does it mean that it will all come true? No. God isn't a magic genie living inside a gold lamp waiting for us to rub it, set him free, and grant us three wishes. (Not dissing on Aladdin, I'm a huge Disney lover!) It also doesn't mean that He automatically turns His head away whenever we ask for something or that He laughs at what we want most in the world or that He quickly denies us in our requests. Together, with the Holy Spirit, He searches our minds and works good into our lives.
He blesses us beyond measure with all the gifts that He gives us. And He has already given us a gift that will last forever. Salvation through His son and a life eternal with Him. The gift of Christ alone is enough satisfaction to last us while we are here on earth. Yet, because God loves us, He wants to bless us in so many other ways. He just doesn't want us to forget that it all comes from Him and that the gifts He does give us, should be used for His glory. He deserves all the credit, because without Him, we wouldn't have any of it anyways. Without God, we wouldn't even have life.
There will always be things that we want and desire, no matter what stage of life we are in. We are always going to want something else and we will always be waiting for something else. God places different desires, wants, and needs into our hearts for a reason. Whether we get them all or not is ultimately His decision, for our good. He knows what is best for us, He knows the ways in which we will glorify Him, He knows the lessons we need and will learn. He doesn't want us to be afraid to ask for things in our lives. He wants us to be able to see the good He is working into every situation. Everything He does for us, every gift He gives us, is all so we will see and recognize His love. How we approach Him makes all the difference, not only in our conversations with Him, but also in our hearts.
Let us never lose sight of the good He is doing, even when we can't see it. Let us approach Him with a "can I..." spirit, instead of a "give me..." attitude.
Which do you say more? "Can I..." or "Give me...?"
How do we strive to recognize the good God is doing all around us, even in the worst of situations?
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