2004-12-16 - Making Lists
Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread. (KJV)
It's hard to get a gift for one of my boys. That may sound a little odd, but it is tough to get a list out of him. Our family and extended families exchange lists for Christmas and birthday gifts. There is always the option to go off the list. But if you get something on the list, you know it is something in which that person has expressed an interest. It is especially helpful for relatives that live a distance away.
I was thinking today about lists and remembered an old song called "Shopping List". It was a catchy tune with an obvious message. The ironic focus line in the chorus went, "Grant me what I think I need to make it through the day." The song was warning against thinking that God was a genie who would give us what we asked for every time we rub his lamp. It is easy to see how true that thought is of a lot of prayers. There are items on a lot of our lists that might be suspect, and some that may need adjustment that are less obvious.
The "Give me this, give me that, bless me Lord I pray..." list are what we think we need. Some ask in desperation for a job or something else to raise money to pay basic bills and buy food. The obvious cry of that heart is to be able to provide for the immediate needs of an individual or family. That heart is often more open to what God may be doing in their lives, even up to a change or town or career. Others ask out of desire, wanting a new car or bigger house. And while it is not beyond the realm of possibility that God actually has plans for someone in that direction, there may be more subtle moves taking shape.
Jesus is teaching the Disciples how to pray. And right here is a key piece of the model. He is asking for "daily bread". Much like the Israelites in the wilderness who were given manna for a day, Jesus specifies that we as for today's needs. I am not saying it is wrong to plan ahead. But I am certain that I can get so fixed on that plan of mine as a goal, that I can miss a turn in the road that God has planned for me - and miss a blessing He wanted to share with me and quite likely not even realize it. He will have to tell me when I get home to Glory.
I want to share another thought. This one is a little tougher. I have been told a few stories where people had prayed earnestly for the healing of a loved one: child, parent, close friend, etc. That person being prayed for would continue to hang on to life. But consider that physical death is the ultimate healing where mortality, pain and sickness are removed once and for all time. The stories tell of those praying coming to the realization that death is a part of life and that it can actually be the will of God. Jesus prayed for the cup of suffering to pass Him by if it were His Father's will. Once prayers were changed asking for God's will for the sick or suffering loved one, they would pass from this life quickly. While this is hard for those of us left behind, this life is not the end. It is the beginning and we need to live in that reality. It is we who suffer loss, the loss of that person's companionship. If that person is a believer, we must also know that we will see them again and cling to the comfort in that truth.
Learning to trust God with those people and things that mean so much to us is not always easy. It is very easy to think that we know what is best for ourselves. After all, who is more familiar with our situation than we are? God. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows the number of our days and what is around the corner for us tomorrow. Learning to trust Him and take comfort in the things He provides can alter "the desires of our heart". The things of this world can grow strangely dim. And the items on the lists we make can change over time.
Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (NAS)
Grace & Peace,