In the book of Matthew we read the story of two blind men who cried out to Jesus as He passed by. This is what happened: “Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I should do unto you?”
What if Jesus were standing still right now, and calling you and me and asking, “What do you want Me to do for you?” I’m not thinking physically here, as in blindness, but spiritually. What do we want Jesus to do for us in our hearts and spirits?
What would we say? What would you say? I really don’t think that He had any more interest in those two blind men then He does in us, do you? I think He would like us to ask Him for what we need, and I think He would like to give us what we need. He said to His disciples, “Hitherto, have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be made full.”
He wants us to ask, and He wants our joy to be full. So what will we ask for? I think if we thought long enough, we would realize that what would make us happiest in the long run would be if we asked for whatever God wanted for us.
So now the question becomes, what does He want for us? He wants lots of things for us, of course: healing, faith, courage, comfort, all the fruit of the Spirit, to name a few. Probably He would include the thing we thought of asking Him for in answer to the above question!
The good news is that God has already provided everything we need. The sad news is that, being human, we find it difficult to accept the things He has already provided. We feel they are too good to be true—that we haven’t earned those treasures. Or that we fall so short of what we should be that it somewhat negates what He has given us. Or the reality of those gifts simply grows dim.
Sometimes life knocks us down and we feel as though that’s where we belong: Down. Working hard to somehow get up. That isn’t where we belong, of course, because the Bible says that God made us to sit with Him (Christ) in the heavenly places. (Read Ephesians 2:4-10 to be convinced of this rich truth!)
But because the riches God has given us have such a way of growing dim, I would like to take a little time to dust off some truths that I think God would want us to get. They have been dusted off for me recently, and it has made a delightful difference in my life. I chose three and I state them as from Him:
- I love you.
- You’ll make it.
- You need to be dependent.
He loves us.
John the Beloved penned what is surely one of the loveliest passages in the Bible: “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God,” he wrote, and then as if to quiet any possible doubt, he added, “and such we are.” John, who was close to Jesus, must have fairly reveled in this truth, for soon he reiterated: “Beloved, now are we children of God.”
Now God is the good kind of Father—just the best kind we could ever hope for or imagine. And He is the one who has bestowed on us the priceless gift of sonship. He has adopted us as His own.
The apostle Paul writes, “For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” That’s what Jesus called Him in the time of His extremity in Gethsemane. Abba, Father. And that’s what we get to call Him. Daddy.
A child who knows he is loved has no hesitation in running to his father and saying, “Daddy can you please tie my shoelace?” So we come to our Father as a child who knows he is loved, not from a place of deficit, but from a place of abundance and assurance.
Here’s an attitude about God’s love that I read in a recent issue of this magazine. It was part of a letter that Frank Sandford wrote to the Bible School back in 1919: “I love Him with all my heart, and He loves me with all His heart.” Isn’t that great? I love it. He loves me with all His heart. I think I’d like to adopt that outlook for always, and just assume it’s true no matter how I happen to be feeling. I tried saying it recently when I was feeling really stressed, and it made a difference right away in my feelings and outlook. Oh, God loves me. He’s on my side. He’ll help me. (Exhale.)
We get so introspective sometimes and can see our shortcomings so well that I think it can tend to get our attention away from what Jesus has done for us, and tend to make us miss seeing ourselves as God sees us. We are accepted in the Beloved. (And just maybe He loves us with all His heart!)
We’ll make it.
The Bible assures us of this good news in countless places, of which I will quote only two.
Peter tells us that “His divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness . . . whereby He hath granted unto us His precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature.”
It is a great relief to me that we are not dependent on our own abilities. Nothing good comes from us except what He has put into us. But He has put into us, or granted to us, everything needed to make us what we should be and to get us to heaven.
And in the book of Hebrews we read, “Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight.” Or one version has “equip you with everything good that you may do His will.”
It is the blood of Jesus that does for us everything we need done. And we do need things done for us with great regularity, don’t we? I remember when I was in Bible School hearing one of the young married women on staff testify about how thankful she was for the blood of Jesus. I thought, “What could she need the blood of Jesus for?!!” I thought that surely by the time people reached her age, they did everything they were supposed to do!
Well, I learned otherwise. Yes, we do need the blood of Jesus. Often. But we have it. And it works. I loved the way my father used to pray: simply, “I honor the blood of Jesus to meet my every need.” My father was not a complicated man. If the Bible said something he believed it. And that is the right spirit. Faith connects us with God’s provision. There is absolutely no place where we need to feel stuck.
We need to be dependent.
Let’s go back to our verse in Hebrews: “He will equip you with everything good that you may do His will.”
I think of the military. The soldiers are not expected to equip themselves with their own guns. The government supplies the guns. And so with us in our spiritual lives: God has all the guns we need to get the job done, whatever the job may be for us.
And I notice it says “everything good.” There are other good things we need besides guns. We may need wisdom or comfort or encouragement. He is able to equip us with every good thing.
Jesus said, “Apart from Me, ye can do nothing.” It’s strange, but sometimes we just don’t get that. We think we ought to be able to be good all by ourselves. We get discouraged if we have struggles with unreality or wrong attitudes or with shortcomings of one kind or another.
What we need, instead of our own effort, is grace to help in time of need, what someone once described as “the touch of the divine in the human heart.” It’s something we don’t have by ourselves. “Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.”
When my children were young, I had a real struggle with lack of patience. It got so bad I knew something needed to change. I thought about asking God but decided against that course of action because He works so slowly, and I needed a change right away! So I decided to Ben Franklin it. I would put a star on the calendar every day that I didn’t holler. It worked. For about six days. I found I could actually remember, when I was about to yell, to change my tone and say something calmly.
But then came the morning when my little first-grade Gretchen was running late for the school bus. I couldn’t holler, of course, so I spoke quietly. I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember thinking afterward, “That was snide.”
After she was off to the bus, I met with a friend for our morning walk. I told her, “I think I should write Mrs. Firda (Gretchen’s teacher) a note and say, ‘Dear Mrs. Firda, If Gretchen is having a hard time in school, it’s because she has a horrible home life.’”
I think that was the morning I gave up and got down on my knees and asked God for patience. And He gave me some. Days later I had to ask for patience again and He gave me more. And on we went, I asking, and He providing that touch of the divine in this human heart. Thank the Lord.
God wants us to connect with the good things He has already provided for us. We can be what we ought to be if we will stop our self-effort, start mixing the promises with faith, and receive from His hand everything we need to please Him. If, in short, we will depend on Him.