May 13, 2010

The Oreo Cookie

The other day while I was doing the dishes and praising the Lord (not sure why those two go hand-in-hand, but they do), this thought popped into my head: "the Lord gives us what we need and not what we want." I was actually praying through some troubling information, details that were sticky and not easy to process, when I started thinking about how the Lord handles our needs.

Often, we ask Him to solve or fix a specific need -- akin to a child asking his mother for a cookie. In my case, I happen to really love Oreo cookies. These are my favorites (and Do-Si-Dos), and I try and keep a bag around all the time. I was cleaning the left-overs out of the carton when I thought about an Oreo, how it is a specific kind of cookie, and that is sort of represented how we speak with God.

When we are in crisis mode (as I have been), we tend to line up our list of "needs" and bring them to the Lord. They generally are petitions put to the Lord as such: "Lord, please fix this need. Please change this situation. Please resolve this tension;" or "Lord, I need a car (been there, done that one!) or a Job (ditto!)" They are generally requests for the Lord to intervene on our behalf and move mountains out of our way. Sometimes they are specific as in my request for a car. Other times, they are more about a change of heart or emotion, something internal, rather than an actual thing.

The point here is that regardless of whether they are a thing or an internal change request, they are tiny, when compared to the scope and complexity of our Lord's ability. They are gnats to Him, the "no see-um" types of little nuisance bugs that drive us all crazy. It is not that God doesn't care about our needs, but it is more that our needs are so small and He is so big, that really they are of no concern to Him (in the fulfillment aspect). God can breath the stars into place, therefore, He can provide food, shelter and clothing to you. Our requests are nothing to Him, and they are already accounted for, promised and delivered to us. So instead of just giving us what we want, God instead teaches us how to live with what we have and then enables us to use our abilities empowered by His Grace to accomplish His will.

As I thought about my Oreo analogy, this is what came through to me: God doesn't give us the Oreo, instead He teaches us how to become cookie makers and bakers. He enables us to use the skill and training we have received to not only help ourselves but to help others. He still gives us the cookie we ask for, sometimes the very flavor we desire. He will always grant us our request so long as it is asked for with the correct intention. We just get more than we asked Him for -- we get teaching and training and enabling and building and empowering -- everything we need to handle the situation at present and for the coming future.

As parents, how many times have we said to our child, "No, you may not have a cookie now. It is almost dinner time." Our child may not like to hear that answer, but as parents we know what is best. We typically allow them a cookie when the time is better -- perhaps at snack time or before bed. God does the same thing with us. He is not cold-hearted and unfeeling. He withholds some things for our good. He gives other things to us right away. It is all about a Loving Parent choosing the time and the opportunity to bless His Children with His Good Gifts.

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