I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday about how, when and if God provides in every situation when we ask Him for something. We had some differing views but came to realize that we actually felt similarily, but how we interpreted the word ‘provides’ played a part in how we discussed our views.
My reasoning was that God always provides in some way even if it is not in the way we want. For me, when God doesn’t answer a specific prayer that is an answer in itself. By Him not giving me what I want, I see that He has a different plan and what I want is not what He feels is best for me. In not giving me what I asked for, I see that as an answer. I still feel He is with me always and that He has a plan and purpose for me, and therefore will provide for HIS purpose.
My friend, who has experience working with people who believe in the prosperity gospel, (ask God for what you want and He will always give it to you, which often looks to Matthew 6:25-34 as reasoning for these views), felt we must be more careful in our word choice and that the word ‘provides’ can be understood by many to mean God will give you everything you ask for. As he explained his reasoning, I understood why he chose his words so delicately when speaking of God’s provision. His thoughts are that God does not always provide, but He is always with us and leading us toward His plan.
So ultimately our viewpoints were along the same lines.
Since this conversation I have been thinking about the requests that we, and I especially, make to God in our daily lives. Currently I am searching for answers on a couple of things, and anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not naturally a patient person. Therefore I find myself getting frustrated and begging God for answers on the same question again and again.
I have to remind myself to be patient. I have to remind myself that I don’t need the answers right now. I want the answers, but it is not about what I want. I need to just trust God and His plan for me and that He will provide answers on what I am seeking in His time, not mine. Otherwise I am simply going to stress myself out unnecessarily trying to control something that God has already figured out.
So often we turn to God only when we want something. We want a specific job. We want a boyfriend/girlfriend. We want a new house. We want more money. We want to move to a new country. We want to punish someone who hurt us. And we get angry with God when He doesn’t provide what we ask for. We claim He’s not listening or He doesn’t care. We may even question His existence and our own faith. All because He didn’t give us what we want when we want it. We expect that because we’ve chosen to follow Him, He should fulfill all of our desires in return.
How is that true faith?
Why is our belief in Him dependent on Him providing us with exactly what we want?
As I ask these questions, I’m not trying to call anyone out, but I’m pointing the finger at myself.
What right do I have to be so demanding of my God who saved my life? Who sent His son to die so I could be forgiven? Who loves me more than I can possibly imagine and only wants His best for me?
I need to stop demanding from God what I want and ask Him what He wants from me instead. I need to stop being so entitled and simply say, ‘Thank you, God’
As I look back over my life, I see God’s presence in everything. No, He did not give me everything I wanted. And there were times of deep pain and struggle, but God was always there. He was there to comfort me. He was there to strengthen me. He gave me earthly support through people and opportunities. And when I asked Him for something that would not have been good for me, He protected me by not providing it.
God is not a magic genie who will grant our every wish. God is our father who loves us, strengthens us, helps us grow, and leads us. Like any good father, He doesn’t give us everything we want just because we want it. Like any good father, He tells us no when He must and accepts our anger and frustration in response, while still loving us fully and unconditionally.
God will never abandon us. He doesn’t promise us that our lives will be perfect. He doesn’t promise us a life without struggle. He does promise He will always be with us. He does promise that if we follow Him and accept His son, Jesus, that when our time on this earth is over, He will take us home to be with Him for eternity.
And that is more than enough for me.