Growing up, there was this kid in my class that seemed to get everything he ever wanted. The newest clothes, the best bike, even the best school lunches. Some might say he had a charmed life. Whatever Jon wanted seemed to magically appear the next day. As many in that scenario do, he seemed to feel higher than the rest of us, strutting the halls with his newest and best. He had the habit of treating other kids like he owned them, harassing them and ordering them to do his bid…ding. A good parent might have questioned the skills of his parents. Were they trying to buy his love, what did they feel guilty about? Didn’t they know they were ruining the kid? All in all as a former classmate I can attest, Jon was not one of our favorite people.
Last night as I lie in bed, Jon passed through my thoughts. That made me start to ponder all of the times that I did not get what I wanted. The times even now that I know exactly what I need and what would complete me. And how I faithfully pray for that thing and I just know that God will give it to me because it is best. After all, if he loved me as he said he did, why wouldn’t he bless me with this?
This week I heard a talk about what happens when we don’t get the answers that we want when we pray. That we tend to think maybe prayer doesn’t work or that maybe God really doesn’t care like he says. That prayer is an insignificant task or even worse that maybe WE are insignificant. Then I thought again about Jon. How he got every single thing that he desired or thought might make his life better. Yet how miserable he really seemed; without a true friend as he built a wall of trinkets between himself and others. And also his seeming lack of character as he felt no pressure to build qualities such as patience, empathy, or humility.
What if I did receive all of those “blessings” I asked for every time? And God spit out every request like a quarter gumball machine? I wonder where I would be? WHO would I be? Looking back I see some of those requests and I know for sure that they would have taken me down a pretty dark road. I realize now that not getting what I asked for was certainly a decision of mercy, though I had no insight to that perspective at the time.
Step further. What if we were all “Jon’s”? In this fast paced world of consumerism, what would that look like? Fast food, people connected immediately and then out of mind just as fast. We are driven by needs and desires all met instantaneously.
Waiting for answers or not getting what I want when I want it hurts. But you know it isn’t the kind of hurt that kills. Perhaps instead it is the kind of hurt that you feel 2 days after a tough workout. The kind of hurt that builds your muscles; even the ones you don’t see forming right away.