Thursday, May 9, 2013

God is Not a Gumball Machine

The giant glass globe of wonder: the bubble gum machine. I'm certain that a bubble gum machine has been a part of most everyone's childhood. Those enticing primary colored, 25 cent sugary pieces of joy that lasted about 2 minutes once chewed. I remember one that resided next to the exit door at a grocery store that we went to when I was a little girl. When ever I was given a quarter for a piece of gum, I always crossed my fingers to get a red one. It usually never happened, but when it did it was an exciting moment indeed.

I have come to realize that Christians often treat God like a bubble gum machine when praying to Him. We claim that we desire His will, but in our humanity we often fall into this trap that if we say enough prayers ( put in enough quarters) that then we will get what we desire ( the red flavored gumball.) We've all been guilty of it, me included. We think that if we get enough people to pray for something, pray about something enough times or long enough that God will indeed hear our prayers and grant us the desires of our hearts.

Matthew 21:22 says "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." This verse is communicating that if we believe in Him, He will grant you what you ask for in prayer. Also, in Psalm 37:4 it says that "Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." These two verses appear to say that if you believe in faith and ask for it in prayer, that God will grant you the desires of your heart; or, should I say, the red flavored gumball. I think many Christians have misinterpreted these verses, thinking that if they have enough faith they will receive what they want.

In Psalm 139, King David expresses how deeply and intimately God knows His children. to be searched and known ( 37:1) , and to even have Him know what is on our tongue before we even think or speak it ( 37:4). He made us in secret and skillfully wrought us from the depths of the earth and knows all the days of our lives ( 37:15-16). With these truths of how deeply our God knows His children, isn't it safe to say that He knows the desires of our hearts more thoroughly than what we can ever fathom? The key is my friends, to ask God to give you the desires of HIS heart for YOU. To take the imperfectly human condition of our hearts and desires and have it dipped in the crystal blue waters of His purity and majesty, trusting with all our hearts that He is more than familiar with every desire and need of our existence. 

I feel a strong urgency to state that it does not matter the amount of times you pray, the manner in which you pray, the length of your prayer or how many people are praying for you; it will never, ever change Gods plan and the fulfillment of His will. Prayer is not for God, but is for us to have an opportunity to connect with the author of our lives and receive a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is also a reminder of how dependent we are to be on our Savior; that ultimately He is in control of all things and at all times. This kind of trust is a demonstration of our love and faithfulness to Him, and in turn we get to walk in the freedom that is ours for the taking.

This post is derived from my own recent personal temptation to look at God as a gumball machine, trying in vain to get that red gumball. I desire His will for my life, and sometimes I find myself lying in bed, tears streaming across my face, wondering if He really cares about my desires. Sometimes I find myself wondering why I consistently desire the same things as I am seeking His will for my life, but He doesn't open those doors...at least not yet. It is then that I am reminded that I belong to Him and not myself. That although I may desire to be something, do something or have something, it may be that "I" is the very thing in the way of following His footsteps. 

May you have the courage to seek His will with all things in your life. May your prayers change from "my will be done" to "thy will be done". In the meantime, chew on the truths of His love and faithfulness, a flavor to the soul that will never go stale.