“…but you were unwilling” (Matthew 23:37).
Why doesn’t God do this, why doesn’t He do that, what’s wrong with God, where was God when this happened?
One would think, from our constant griping and questioning of the Almighty, that we have a handicapped Deity, one who suffers from a lack of information or some chronic disease which limits His ability to come through for us as we have (ahem) ordered.
We certainly seem to be a dissatisfied bunch.
The problem is not with God. We are the problem. He is more than willing to do “abundantly above what we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
Here are instances where Scripture makes crystal clear that we have a willing Lord and the problem is not with Him….
–“I am willing,” said the Savior to a seeking leper, as He reached out and did the unthinkable and touched the untouchable and made him well (Mark 1:41).
–“How many times I would have gathered you together as a hen shelters her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).
–“If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land….” (Isaiah 1:19).
–“Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
The “if” is on us, not God. (The familiar Second Chronicles 7:14 fits here. “If my people….”)
The question then becomes….
–do we want the blessings of God in our lives? Revelation 3:20 makes it clear He brings Heaven’s gifts right up to the front door and knocks, asking permission to bless us. It’s up to us.
–do we want to be used of God and to be a glory to Him?
–do we want His plan put into effect in our lives? Jeremiah 29:11 is everyone’s favorite verse: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” Sounds great, huh? But immediately after, God says He is putting a curse upon certain ones because “they did not listen to my voice.” So, He is not promiscuously scattering His purposes and plans as the rain which falls upon “the just and the unjust.”
So–as our Lord asked the blind beggar of Jericho–What do you want the Lord to do for you? (Luke 18:41)
One of the most beneficial exercises we as Christians will ever do is to answer that question: “What do we want the Lord to do for us?”
All of this raises a few questions, of course.
“Are you saying God is simply waiting on our permission before doing great things?” “Are you saying God is limited? Isn’t He sovereign and can’t He do whatever He wishes, according to Psalm 115:3?” “So, all I have to do is name it and claim it?”
Of course we’re not saying that kind of foolishness.
What we are saying is the Lord does not force His blessings on us. Many a person could have had God’s blessings and lived on a glorious plane of service and effectiveness, but they were unwilling. So, God “gave them up” (see Romans 2) to their own devices.
What we are saying is that in so many cases “we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2). If we get what we ask for, then the issue becomes our small and wrong-headed asking.
What we are saying is that our unbelief has limited the blessings of Heaven in our lives, our selfish pursuits have stymied God’s plans to use us in larger ways, and our rebellion has made us unable for His purposes.
So, let us do these two things:
a) Ask our Heavenly Father for everything He has in store for us, for every blessing He intends to come our way, and to be used of Him in every way that would please Him.
b) Make ourselves available to Him. He will not arm a rebel, will not endow a prodigal, and will not use the unclean. So, making ourselves available to the Heavenly Father means humbling ourselves before Him, daily recommitting our lives to Him, receiving the daily cleansing by the precious blood, and waiting before Him for whatever comes next.
Ask for His best. And know one thing: It is not necessary to tell God what that “one good thing” is which you are asking for. I can assure you, friend, that His plans for you are bigger than anything you would think to ask. So, just put yourself in His hands and then stay there.
You will be pleasantly surprised. And one day you will look back–as many of us old-timers do–and stand in awe of His greatness and mercy and graciousness.
So, come on, Christian—ask Him.
Oh, one more thing….
One of the silliest questions I get asked is, “Well, what if what I’m asking for is not His will?”
Then, duh–He won’t do it. You are not binding God’s hands when you ask for something He has already said He wants to give you. And neither are we obligating Him when we ask for what He doesn’t choose to send our way.
He will do what He wants to do.
I want to want His will in every area of my life. I want to stay willing, so that when the day comes I stand in HIs presence in Heaven, I will not be heartbroken to learn He had so many more blessings intended for me, but I was unwilling.
“Lord,” a brother of ours once said, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). At the very least, we can pray that.