You know how sometimes when you’re reading the Bible, you read a story you’ve read or heard millions of times before, but all of a sudden God shows you something different from it?
Let me share with you the amazing thing He showed me when this happened to me recently.
I was studying my Bible, and I came to Matthew 15, where a woman approaches Jesus and begs Him for healing for her daughter. Jesus tells her (I’m paraphrasing pretty heavily here) that He was sent to the Israelites, not to her people. On the surface of it, this sounds harsh, but it was really only Jesus’ way to delve into her faith. He wanted to see if she understood that he really was there for people of every nationality—that Christianity isn’t a “Jewish” thing only, but a “for the whole world” thing.
The woman passed the test. She replied that she knew that not all the Jews even wanted Him, but that she’d be glad to have Him. Of course, that may not be what commentators might say is the point of this passage, but that is how I took it.
But that’s not all. The “smack between the eyes” that I got from this passage comes from Jesus’ response, where He says, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”
And I wondered, what would I get if Jesus were to say, “Be it done for you as you desire”?
I’d probably get things like well-behaved children, financial blessings, and good health. But is that it? I mean, are those really even the most important things?
If I knew that I would stand before Jesus and He would say “Be it done for you as you desire,” what would I ask Him for?
Before I go any farther, let me be absolutely clear that Jesus is not obligated to give us something just because we desire it. I’d like a vacation to Europe; He hasn’t given me that. You might like a new car or a bigger house or some other material possession. God’s not obligated to fulfill our requests unless, of course, they are in accordance with His will for us.
But the point is this: we ask too small. We ask for houses and health and money and cars. None of those things is bad in and of itself. But is that all we are asking for?
What about asking for spiritual victories? What about asking for victory over a sin with which we’ve been struggling? What about asking for our children not merely to behave but to develop a deep and enduring relationship with God?
Most of us are far more likely to thank God for a new car than we are for His forgiveness (which we need a whole lot more than we need that car). We’re more impressed with His material blessings, not His spiritual blessings; that’s why we spend more time praying about the material things.
What do we really want from Him? Stuff to make our lives easier and more pleasant.
What is He willing to give us? Far more.
So yes, ask for money to pay the bills or for your car to run or for your kids to stop bickering. Absolutely, ask for those things. But ask for the big things too.
We ask too small.
Matthew 15:28—Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (ESV)
Adapted from Megan Breedlove's blog, Manna for Moms. Megan is the author of Well Done, Good and Faithful Mommy and Manna for Moms: God's Provision for Your Hair-Raising, Miracle-Filled Mothering Adventure (Regal Books.) She is also a blogger and a stay-at-home mom with five children.