If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
I find it really interesting that this scripture about the sea comes a day after having been on Long Beach Island.
I have to confess that I have a dilemma about this verse. It smacks a little bit too much of “The Secret” or the power of positive thinking. It gives the impression that God is some wizard in the Emerald City, granting wishes to those who ask. I don’t think that is true. I do believe that God answers all prayers, it’s just that sometimes the answer is “no” or “not yet.”
I’ve always followed the philosophy, “trust in God but lock the front door anyway.” Is that doubting? Is that not trusting that God will keep me and my family safe? I don’t think so. I think God demands a fair amount of common sense from us. My problem is, when I lock the door, I worry that there needs to be another lock, and maybe an alarm and while I’m at it, I’ll check the police blotters and check out who are the latest members on Megan’s Law. Basically, I am driven and tossed by the wind.
What I think that most people don’t realize, is that when God does give us what we ask, it sometimes isn’t what we expect. When I find myself having a tough day and plead for patience, I often find myself in more stressful situations. Wait! That isn’t fair! I wanted things to be easier, not harder! But the best way to become patient is to practice by being in situations that require patience.
I’ll admit it, I wasn’t very patient with The Boy when he was little. I didn’t have a lot of experience and lacked any shred of confidence. I did get better with The Girl, but it wasn’t until, 8 years later, when I had The Baby, that I suddenly discovered how much patience I had. This is not to say I am a patient person. I am definitely a work in progress. Now, almost a decade later, I’m not bothered by the things that freaked me out with Thing One and Thing Two. Tantrums in the grocery store–big deal. Potty training? Who cares–they are all in underpants by kindergarten. When I look to see how much patience I’ve gained over the years, I’m amazed! God did answer my prayers. It was just, “wait a minute.”
There were, and are, missteps along the way. I still take something to the Lord and then decide that his timing isn’t working. I’ll grab it back and, as The Message says, “worry my prayers.” I know it isn’t effective, and more often than not, take my tattered little prayer back to Him with an “I’m sorry.”
I love this poem — I think it was written by Robert Burdette:
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How can you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never let them go.”
Thankfully, He “gives generously to all without reproach.” Even me. With all my doubting.