Friday, April 17, 2015

157: give me a fish

In Matthew 7 Jesus says, "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

This year I wanted a certain kind of "fish" (please bear with my metaphor). I wanted it really bad. But the fish weren't bitin'. So I asked the Lord to take away my hankerin'. And you know what He did? He gave me a hankerin' for a different kind of fish, and I was able to move my fishing pole to a different stream. All was fine.

But then I started looking over at my shoulder at that stream over yonder where that old fishkind (rainbow trout? catfish? salmon?) was still swimming back and forth, whipping its tail. I didn't know if I could be satisfied with my new fishing hole, the one God provided, because, goodness, the sunlight sure glistened nicely off those ol' shiny scales.

One morning, I woke up to find a "For Sale" sign posted right next to that old stream. I didn't know what to think. I had my own fishing hole now. And that ol' fishing spot hadn't brought me any fish before. But why, oh, why did it have to available for more trying now?

So I prayed. I was going fishing again that very day, and I prayed, "Lord, You are a good Father. And You say you will not give me a snake or a stone when I want a fish. That's not in Your heart. I pray for a fish. I believe that You give good things to Your children."

I took my bait and tackle, and I trekked down to my own little fishing hole. And you know what?

I came back with a string full of fish!

Ok, it's a metaphor, a parable. It's a fish tale. But this happened to me lately (minus the fish), and God proved to me His Word when it says "how much more will your Father . . . give." His heart is to bless us, not to give us cursings. If He withholds, fine, He knows best. But He's not asking me personally to settle for something I don't care about. He never has. Instead, I need to ask for His super blessings, believing He can do what I might not think is possible. I need to remember that, instead of a stone, His heart, my own Father's heart, is to give me a fish.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

156: hands open

So recently I embarked on a relationship. No, not with my dog. With a real, human man. Because I have had less than successful experiences previously, and because those experiences included not listening to the Lord and not always enjoying my relationships, I have been praying a word picture the last couple weeks.

Lord, my hands are open to You. I am willing for You to take this away if that's Your will. But I also pray that my hands would be open to receive from You the blessings of this relationship.

Well, this weekend while I was heading to a singles retreat in Oregon (I know, I know, not "exactly" single, but I signed up for this before I knew things would change!), I struggled with worry. Thankfully the girls I was going to carpool with had got a late start from Portland, so I sat in my car in Corvallis, eating an amazing spinach florentine bagel with chive and onion schmear and spending much needed time with the Lord.

This is what I learned.

When I begin to worry, my hands close into fists. I try to cling to the relationship, fearful that the Lord will take it away (which in the past has always been my greatest fear). Simultaneously though, I am worried that it might not work, so my hands close and keep me from receiving fully from the Lord the pleasure from being in relationship with another person. I walk the line--half in, half out.

In other words, when I worry, I don't get any benefit at all! I lose out on blessings, and I am less surrendered. It's a lose-lose situation.

Lord, keep my hands open to You!
Devil's Churn, Ore.
"I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is, or should be in all respects,
And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair,
I would choose to refer all to thee,
for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss,
as I am in danger of doing.
I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,
and it delights me to leave them there."
--"God the All," Valley of Vision