In the weeds
I look back and remember when I bought lottery tickets or when I was asking to be promoted, wasn’t I just asking for security, for success? When I pray that God change the hearts of other people – whether its my boss who’s being a dictator or my rebellious daughter, my congress person who’s uncooperative or my wife who’s unhappy with me - sometimes I’m just asking for my comfort and for control.
Jesus tried to tell us that. In the parable of the sower
“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear [the Word of God], but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” (Luke 8:14 NIV)
When we get hung up asking for things to satisfy our lusts and pleasures, or even to appease our worries and anxiety, those can be seeds sown in the weeds, where the Word of God falls in the ways of the world.
I get it. Some of the most poignant lessons from Solomon, the wisest man ever, captured in Ecclesiastes are that God surrounds us with sweetness and beauty. “He has made everything beautiful in its time,” (Eccl 3:11 NIV) and even the ability to enjoy what He has made is a gift from God (Eccl. 5:19), whether its taste, touch, hearing, sight, the ability to work, to walk and talk, sing and dance, see color and hear music, feel warm sun and cool breezes, to enjoy intimacy with Him and with each other.
But those things are so attractive as to be seductive, and we mistake our pleasure for our God-given purpose, not just to enjoy His Creation but to recognize and worship their Creator by whose hands these are graciously given, not to avoid hard work and discipline but find satisfaction and even passion in watching Him accomplish difficult things in spite of our distractions, our inability, or our inaction.
Isn’t it true that sometimes it’s better that we don’t get what we ask for? James writes: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3 NAS) George MacDonald put it in even more sobering terms: ““If God were not only to hear our prayers, as he does ever and always, but to answer them as we want them answered, he would not be God our Saviour but the ministering genius of our destruction.”
When you feel that tugging on your soul, whether from worry or from longing, would you ask God what need He’s revealing? It may be just thorns grabbing from the world where you walk, or poison ivy starting to work its way up – our needs in the weeds.
Guaranteed, He has something better for you. He is something better for you.