I use to write the most intricate gift wish lists. When it came time for a celebration where at which I received gifts I was certain to do my due diligence to get the best of what I wanted and to communicate those wants to the purchasers (aka my parents). Hours were spent cutting and pasting pictures from magazines, calculating total prices with shipping, handling and taxes. Key items would be highlighted with colors of desire. Red meant it was top priority and a “must buy” all the way to blue which meant “I would like but only after all red items had been purchased.” After all the lists were made I would make sure to attach a document giving just reason for each item ie; “This american girl will bring me hours of joy, it’s the best friend of Samantha and I will spend more time playing quietly in my room than annoying you during the day.”
Let’s just say I had high expectations.
It was totally normal for a dog, a cat or both to show up on my list. Some years that’s all I would write with every little possible item they would need for an entire year mapped out and calculated. But one year was very special and I had the ultimate gift on my list. I had been greatly influenced by an incredible set of books and mostly movies (I mean come on, I didn’t have time to read when I was playing with my american girls…) and my gift wish list looked like this:
1. My own pet Owl.
That was it, that was all I wanted and I was DESPERATE. I would do anything for that wise old animal to be my friend. I was convinced, in my young mind, that this was the most reasonable of requests one could give. I asked and asked relentlessly, trying every argument I could to convince my parents that an owl was a wise investment for their beloved daughter. They never took the bait and I was DEVASTATED. I had never wanted anything so badly in my few short years on this earth and I couldn’t believe that my parents wouldn’t give me such a great and desired gift.
Then this morning happened.
Yet again I’m in a season of want, of trusting and asking the Father for things that seem nothing but reasonable. And here I was, feeling like that devastated little girl, asking for owls and getting betty spaghetti instead. (Woah–don’t get me wrong, she ROCKED)
My best friend and I sat around the garden table all morning, drinking tea and pouring out frustrations.
And be still my heart, there is something terrifyingly, patiently painful and beautiful about starting again.
But wasn’t this supposed to be easier? Wasn’t the Favor of the Holy one supposed to pour out upon us, to lavish us in His promises, His provision?
“how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
Why hasn’t he come through? Why was it so easy for some people, why was everything they touched or thought filled with favor? Our spirits were grumbling, frustration suffocating our joy.
Then I think to the Israelites—40 years of wandering, 40 years of complaining, of being blind to provision, of doubt and fear.
The Father had promised them the land, filled and flowing with milk and honey. The sweetest of places was ahead.
I can’t help but wonder how often they forgot, how frequently they gave up. How often I forget and give up….
His manna came falling from heaven. Quail encompassed the ground.
“I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.”
<Manna today or I starve>
A bunch of ungratefuls, questioning food that literally fell from heaven. Doubting His presence and provision despite the pillars of cloud and fire that went ahead of them to guide them.
His presence never once parted from them, his provision never stopped.
And yet here I was begging my manna to be “hot and ready.” Convenient, easy and now. I was ready for the mountain-top, not interested in the wandering not believing in my waiting.
Thank goodness His sweetness surrounds. I closed my eyes, I was there in the desert—wandering and watching as his Spirit danced amongst his people, a celebration of the valley, a certainty filled me.
The mountain tops are so coveted but what happens when you get there? You look down and see how easily you could fall, the air gets thin and it gets hard to breath, you walk carefully upon the ledges gazing at the beauty below. But the valley–the valley is where life happens. Streams flow through nourishing growth, a wind blows gentle refreshing, life is formed here. Both views are breathtaking, both places are filled with Presence.
I’m learning how to ask for good gifts from my Good Good Father. I’m learning that He provides in steps, one ladder rung at a time. He’s preparing us for promise, giving us the gifts we need to get there, the favor we request as He sees fit because He sees beyond our begging. He never stops looking ahead or behind, His manna falls abundantly and unceasingly. Some days it’s hot and ready others it’s just right.
Don’t give up asking for wild things, dreaming of big gifts, begging the impossible He never stops surprising.
I’m so thankful Father knows best, I don’t know what I would have done with an owl anyways, I don’t like birds all that much.