We’re at the part of our regularly scheduled program where I start looking for loopholes.
Well, maybe not actively looking for loopholes, but today I thought one fell into my lap. At church, Pastor Darren Whitehead talked about Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”
My ears perked up. If asking was all it took then, man, I’ve been asking for a while. Maybe I just need to remind God of what I want. Maybe he just hasn’t heard what I was saying. Maybe if I just reminded him of this verse, He’d say, “Oh, ok, that’s right, you got me, here you go!”
As with everything in life, context is just as important as content.
Matthew goes on to say, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ”
Parents do not seek to torment their children (well, bad jokes and green beans aside). Matthew is right – parents do not substitute horrible things for healthy things simply to do harm to their children. A rock instead of bread? A snake instead of fish? What loving parent does that to their child?
Because God is my Father, then surely when I have asked him for a child, He is not substituting it with an empty womb just for jollies. As a matter of fact, the last line of that scripture says that God our Father is even MORE generous than our earthly fathers.
So I come to a familiar place in my walk with God. I am faced with two opposing ideas: either God is who He says He is and I am wrong, or God is NOT who He says He is and I am right. In this particular case, the two options I was weighing were Option 1: God must not be a very good Heavenly Father OR Option 2: my brain cannot fathom the generosity of God.
Considering that so many things in my life bear witness to the great goodness of God and there is a 2,000+ year old book testifying to the grace and goodness of God, I have to say that Option 1 is not possible. While I’d love to recount for you the many times I didn’t get what I wanted, each of those times is perfectly balanced with God providing something that I hadn’t considered – and it was infinitely better than what I thought I wanted. And sometimes I didn’t get what I wanted just because it wasn’t good for me. Like chocolate cake for breakfast. Mmm.
Pastor Darren told a story about taking his 3 year old daughter to an apple orchard. She immediately ran to the apples in the grass and picked them up and tried to eat them. But the apples on the ground were rotten and wormy, and Pastor Darren took those apples away from her. He lifted her up and showed her the fresh, ripe apples in the tree that were infinitely better than the rotting ones on the ground.
So often I forget to lift my eyes and see the better fruit that God has for me. I am so focused on wanting an apple, I don’t consider anything else and run to the first rotting apples I see. And that helped me see that Option 2 is the accurate view.
But the problem with Option 2 is that I want children so badly that it can be so hard to realize that God has a bigger vision for my life, a better view and a greater story to tell. “What can be bigger, better, or even greater than having kids?” demands my temper tantrum throwing little self.
That just tells you how short-sighted and selfish I can be.
And the loophole closes.