At Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival in 1991, the late Mike Yaconelli told a story to us in a seminar. I don’t know if it’s true or anecdotal but it stayed with me:
A little girl and her mother – who was in a bad mood – went into a diner for lunch. The waitress came over and took their order. Addressing the little girl she asked “what would you like?” The child replied “I want a hamburger”. The mother interjected “She’ll have meatloaf”. The waitress said “what would you like with it?” The girl replied “I want french fries”. The mother said – getting angrier – “she’ll have vegetables”. Finally the waitress asked “and what do you want to drink?” The girl said “I want a coke!” The mother said “she’ll have milk!”
The waitress went into the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with two trays of food. She pulled the lid off the little girl’s food and there was a hamburger, chips and a coke.
Amazed the little girl turned to her mum and said “MOMMY!!! The waitress thinks I’m REAL!”
We often look at our life and think God treats us like the mother in the story. Ignoring our wants and desires and giving us something we find unpalatable.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Many read this verse the wrong way. First we must delight in the Lord, whatever our circumstances. Consider Paul in prison who sang praises in his dungeon and refused to escape when the earthquake opened all the doors because of the consequences to the jailer. Once we delight in God, He places desires in our heart so we can ask for them and receive them. It sounds convoluted to us, but we still have a choice.
The attitude of the World is “the heart wants what the heart wants” and it uses it to justify affairs, embezzlement, lies, slandering political opponents (yes I do mean Donald Trump there), and a host of other “white” lies.
There’s no such thing. Either it’s the truth or it isn’t. Better to stay silent and get before God to thrash out your feelings than speak and destroy families and friendships as a result. Sadly I speak from experience on this. I lost several very dear friends because I was too quick to speak and as a result spoke in anger not truth. My Old Nature took control and I deliberately said things to wound. As a result I lost friendships I valued more than I can say.
God sees us the way the waitress in the story saw the little girl. He listens to us, to the cries of our heart. Just as Daniel prayed and the angel was sent but delayed by a demonic power with the answer, so when we pray God answers immediately but we allow the enemy of our souls to distract and confuse us and ultimately lose hope, and with it faith. This in turn allows in the lie that God doesn’t care about us.
We have to cling to hope with all our might in His strength.
We fell on financial difficulties some time ago and the only thing that has kept me going is the certainty of God’s love for me, and that when Hebrews says that my faith is the substance of that which I hope for it gives me the strength to keep on hoping despite the circumstances and the accusations of the enemy seeking to destroy me.
Part of my testimony is that in 1999 I became depressed to the point of trying to take my own life several times. God pulled me through each time and what the doctors told me should have killed me several times over merely allowed me to sleep deeply. God protected me from myself and this blog, these articles as a direct result of His intervention in my life. He brought me through it my rekindling hope in my heart which seeded hope and resulted in a renewed faith in Him. My physical circumstances – my dad having died, fiancee leaving me, losing my job and being told I was diabetic – didn’t change. What changed was the attitude of my heart.
And it happened because I realised that God cared about me. Enough to go to the cross.
Because He thought – and still thinks – I’m real.