I know I promised another installment of the Guatemala story, but I have a new story to share first. You had no idea how much patience I was going to ask from you. Although, if you know me at all, you already knew it takes great patience from you, when you’re on MY schedule.
A few months ago I listened to a sermon from our pastor, Robert Morris, where he told us that every year he asks for and receives a birthday gift from God. I thought that was such an awesome idea. I mean, who gives better gifts than God? I bet it would always be the right size and everything. So God reminded me, “you know, you could ask me for one too.” But of course, instead of graciously accepting that, I had to argue first. “No, that’s his thing. It’s his story, and I liked it, but that’s ok. We’ll see. (which even my youngest knows means “no”) It’s not my birthday yet anyway.” I mean, seriously, I turned it down. Don’t quit reading yet though, I’m not terminally stupid, I did take Him up on the offer later.
Ever since that day, He kept questioning me, “Why don’t you ever ask Me for anything?” And then he started just telling me to ask Him for something….anything. I feel like I did as a kid the first time my grandpa took me to the ice cream shop and told me to order anything I wanted. “Anything?” It wasn’t even my birthday. “Yes, anything!” I ordered an orange sherbet, single scoop. I didn’t even get two scoops. I could have had a huge sundae with three scoops, hot fudge, whipped cream and sprinkles, but I didn’t ask. It was just too much pressure, and I didn’t want to ask for too much. I understand now that he WANTED me to ask for too much. He wanted to indulge my heart’s desires, and put a huge smile on my face. He wanted to take me back to my parents with a story to tell about what my grandpa had done for me. God wants the same things for me, and I didn’t even realize that until right now, as I remembered that day in the ice cream shop. He’s been begging me to ask for something. “Yes, anything!”
Each time He has told me to ask for something, I’ve tried to come up with the right thing. God must get so tired of me only asking for the right things. For His will to be done. For things for other people. Each time He’s so gracious, but I can almost feel Him roll his eyes at me, the way my grandpa did that day. “OK, you can have that too, but ask me for more…for something else…something for you…something you want.” And every time I can’t help thinking that I already have so much. It seems so selfish to ask for more.
I even started asking for spiritual gifts. Those seemed like the right kinds of things to ask God for. I especially want the gift of prophesy. How cool would that be? To be able to tell people things that you have absolutely no way of knowing about, in miraculous detail, and using that information to encourage and inspire them to new levels in their lives. Nothing could give me more joy than that. I just knew I was finally on the right track with that request. And again, He rolled His eyes at me. “Ask me for something you don’t already have.” OK, I’m not a prophet or anything, but I knew what He meant. I have spiritual gifts, whether I’ve unwrapped them and learned how to use them all or not.
So what do I want, that I don’t have already?? And then it hit me. I don’t have a job after April 22nd. He has promised me some rest, but how am I supposed to rest if I’m worried about what time I need to wake up? Have you ever tried to take a nap when you knew you only had a few minutes? I always have to set the alarm, otherwise my eyes are open looking at the clock every minute. God, I want to know when to set the alarm for. I want to know when my next job will start, so that I can rest peacefully.
I didn’t get a direct answer on that one at first. Instead, He asked me how long I wanted to rest. And, as I’ve told everyone, I really want to take the summer off, while my kids are out of school. So May, June, July, and August would be my rest, and in September, I’d like to go back to work. He wasn’t satisfied with September. That was too general. He gave me an actual date. Even as I type this, I’m hesitant to put it out there so boldly. I wanted to say that I will have a new job that starts by that date, or around that date. God reminded me that He doesn’t need any wiggle room, and that I can count on Him to show up and do what He says.
So my next job will start ON September 1st….which just happens to be my birthday. And there’s my whole package from God. Do you see it there all wrapped up nicely, with a big bow (or cherry) on top? The rest that He had already promised, now with newfound peace as well? The guidance about which will be the right job for me to accept? The new job itself? The gift of prophecy? My heart’s desires, the smile on my face, and the story to tell about what my Father has done for me? His birthday gift to me. He really does give the best gifts, and He’d like to give one to you too. What are you going to ask Him for?