|Posted on May 9, 2020 at 8:00 AM|
How many times have you longed for, prayed for, petitioned God for something – then received it – only to find out it’s more trouble than it’s worth? Maybe that “thing” isn’t a problem all the time, but enough that you start to ask yourself if it’s more burden than blessing. We are just so fickle by nature.
Like all children, we rarely know what’s really good for us. We may think we do in the moment, but the reality is that our attention spans are about as long as a gnat’s. We either forget how much trouble this or that can be, or we romanticize previous experiences in order to plug up some gaping hole we are feeling. Forgetting that the plug will eventually give way and we’ll still be dealing with the same old underlying issue.
The initial excitement of that new house (substitute job, car, relationship, ministry), can quickly fade in the day to day realities of maintenance. We picture situations so differently than they actually turn out to be. Sure, there are moments of ecstasy and joy, times that look exactly like we pictured them, but it’s always hard work to maintain something that’s worthwhile. And that’s where our dreams crash and burn – when the fantasy meets reality.
Think of it this way. If you suddenly found you owned a mythical unicorn – tall, white, flowing mane, huge horn coming up from its forehead, a beautiful creature you had longed for since you were small. For a moment you would be stunned by the blessing of seeing it standing there in your backyard. How could you have been so favored as to have acquired this gorgeous and amazing animal? You might picture yourself riding him (her?) through the town, waving at all your friends, knowing that they were just green with envy.
But then you’re faced with real issue of what to feed the unicorn. Not only what to feed it, but how much it eats! Which leads to the resulting issue of cleaning up after it (you know what I mean). And how will you deal with it if it gets hurt or sick? I mean, really, who knows anything about unicorns? And what if you get hurt or sick? Is there someone you can trust with the unicorn until you’ve recovered? Or worse yet, who will take care of it if you don’t survive? After all, it’s YOUR unicorn and you are responsible.
And just like that, the blessing is a burden.
So, does that mean we should never ask God for anything? Of course not! But it does mean that we should be very open to whatever blessing God has in mind for us. If we ask for a home and find that we don’t get the very one we longed for, perhaps it’s because God has something else in mind. When we pray for a husband, a child, a better job, we must be open to listening to God’s response, and understanding that He will do everything in the right time. Waiting on God. Not something anyone is particularly good at.
And, just because God gives us something we’ve asked for, does that mean it’s ours exclusively or forever? And will He will just hand it over and walk away? God doesn’t deal in the temporary, His mind is on the eternal. And that’s what He’s teaching us.
The hardest thing for us to do is to shift our focus from the temporary (anything involving our human condition), to the eternal (the things of God). 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing (the temporary human condition), yet the inward man (our eternal soul) is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction (I know – it doesn’t always feel light to us) which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
We just don't always see it... Sometimes, when we ask God for something, He says no. We may not understand why, but that’s because we can’t see beyond the horizon. And sometimes He just says “not now,” causing us to wait for God to move in whatever way He knows will be best for us. But this we do know… He will always work out everything for the best result, even when we can’t see or understand it.
Instead of looking into the backyard at the beautiful unicorn, sometimes we have to look up and away from the temporary desires of our heart, the impermanent situation of our lives, and allow God to work for our eternal benefit. Because “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Be blessed my friend. God is on the throne!