The Magic Marker

My daughter has these black baby-doll slippers that she likes to wear as much as possible. Seriously, it’s not uncommon to find her playing outside wearing these dress shoes. She wears them everywhere.

Well, it should be no surprise that when a 4 -year-old wears a pair of dress shoes every day, the shoes will be scuffed up. In the past, I have secretly taken her shoes and covered up the scuff marks with black permanent marker. Good as new, no-one knew- not even my daughter.

Before church last Sunday I noticed her shoes were no longer black in many areas due to all the scuff marks. I told her to bring me her shoes. She watched in amazement as her shoes began to look new- all because of a black Sharpie marker.

Later that week my daughter brought me her shoes with a little scuff mark on it. “Mom, can you please use that marker to fix my shoes?” I looked at the shoe… there was a little mark on it… But she did ask nicely. I grabbed the marker, fixed it, and sent her on her way.

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I still sit dumbfounded at this. For almost a year she happily wore her scuffed up shoes. I would make them look new every once in a while, but for the most part she didn’t care. Then she saw me use the “magic marker” and that little scuff now needed fixed as soon as she saw the flaw.

This is a classic case of accepting mediocracy when you can have amazing. Even though her favorite shoes looked worn, they were still her favorite shoes and she wore them nonetheless. Now- her favorite shoes can also look amazing all the time while she wears them all the time. Why would you settle for less than the best you can get?

I have honestly struggled with this in my prayer life. I used to pray prayers that sounded like this: “God, here’s what I want… But your will be done.” I prayed because I knew I should, but I also didn’t want to be let down if my prayers were not answered. So, this was my way of letting God off the hook. (As if I could actually control God.) The truth is that I lacked faith. I lacked assurance that God can do anything. I lacked confidence that He cared enough about my little situation to make sure I got the best. I did not realize this was my opportunity to speak to my Heavenly Father, a Father who loves me unconditionally and truly wants the best for me…. Here I was giving the God of the Universe, The Creator of Heaven and Earth, an out. I was telling Him it was ok to NOT answer my prayer… why? Because I was praying without expecting God to come through for me. I knew He could do anything, but I just didn’t think that he would. In the book of James, we are told not to pray double-minded. If you have a need, ask for that need to be met.

I heard a preacher (sorry I don’t remember which one) once talk about how upset he would be if his son needed a new pair of shoes but did not ask him. Maybe his son thought his dad was too busy, wouldn’t care, or couldn’t afford it… ultimately the reason does not matter… The preacher expressed how heart broken he would be if his son would hold out on a request from his dad for any reason.

It is the role of a parent to provide for the needs of a child. It is a privilege of the parent to provide for the wants of their kids. Now sometimes, parents do know best and have to say wait or not right now. But for the most part, we- as parents- want our kids to have their needs and even some of their wants met. Most of all, we want our kids to be happy. I never want my kids to worry that I cannot or will not provide for their needs and wants… I can only imagine how God must feel when we do not ask for what we need.

The point of this sermon was if there is something you want, ask for it. If there is something you need, ask for it, AND have confidence that God, your Father, will provide. Honestly, this is about trust. We have to trust that our God can and will provide for our needs.

Sometimes He answers in ways we do not understand. Sometimes the answer is wait. Waiting is so hard to do. But in these times of waiting, we get to grow closer to God and experience Him in a new way. Trust that He knows what is best for you.

Also know that sometimes we are too busy praying selfish prayers. In these times we are fixated on our wants and fail to see God at work in other areas. God’s plans are much better than any plans you could dream up on your own. Six years ago, I would have never been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. Today I could not imagine it any other way. Praise God He had a better plan for my life!

The bottom line is- if we do not ask and expect results, we will not see results. Don’t be double-minded. God is a good Father. Just like you would want your kids to ask for what they need, He also wants us to ask for what we need!

When you pray, know you are talking to the Creator of the Universe. You are talking to a God who literally spoke the universe into existence. You are talking to a God who loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. You are talking to a God who delights in caring for His children. Ask and you shall receive. But just like all good parents, sometime the answer is not what we want to hear. We must be able to accept that. I believe that one of the best ways to see prayers answered is to live in His will. When God changes your desires, you will see that your prayers begin to resemble His plans for you, and you will begin to see prayers answered in ways that you could have never imagined. Put God first and watch what amazing things will happen in your lives.

 

 

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Matthew 7: 9-11

 

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