Ever seen a child throwing a tandrum in a shopping mall when the parent refuses to buy her a toy? Maybe you did that too in the past. It ends in two ways: The parent either scolds them or gives in to them to avoid public embarrassment.
We are like that too with our heavenly Father. We all want God to answer all our prayers instantly. NOW LORD!!
You think you know what’s best for you. So did the Israelites in the desert. They were saved from Egyptian bondage, drowning in the Red Sea, hunger, thirst and enemies on all sides. What more could you ask for? By God’s grace, they were fed manna, a bread from heaven, to eat every day.
But they grew tired of it. They ran out of ways to cook it.
They demanded meat.
God was not happy but eventually gave them what they so craved for. That’s a good thing right? God answered their prayer just like they wanted. Take a look at what happened after they received it.
Psalms 106:14-15 (MSG)
“They only cared about pleasing themselves in that desert,
provoked God with their insistent demands.
He gave them exactly what they asked for—
but along with it they got an empty heart.”
God gave them meat and something else. An empty heart. In other versions, “God sent leanness into their souls”. What a tragedy to appreciate the gifts without appreciating the Giver of all things wonderful. What a tragedy to get everything you ever wanted but missing out on the Giver who is everything we need.
Oh, God may give you what you want if you really really want it so badly. But can you accept the terrible cost? You want that hot car, that beautiful branded dress, that expensive meal or that spacious house? God might just give it to you along with an empty heart. These items aren’t wrong but excessive self-pleasing desires are.
Some time ago, my family were deliberating whether to buy a car, a second-hand Nissan from our cousin. It was relatively cheap and so tempting. We thought of the status, the prestige and the enjoyment of going to many places. But we knew that it comes at a steep cost, one we weren’t willing to pay. We didn’t take it. So many people are in bondage to the things they thought would make life easier.
1 Tim 6:6-11 (NIV)
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
I thank God he knows best and doesn’t answer my often self-pleasing, self destructive demands. I thank God that he doesn’t always give what we want but what we need. The Israelites only needed the bread from Heaven – Jesus Christ. And that is all we need too.