The other day, I caught myself complaining to the Lord about some financial circumstances that we find ourselves in. As I was complaining of “having to do this” and “having to do that”, the Lord spoke and said, “I gave you what you prayed for.” He then reminded of a story in the bible about the Israelites, when they were in the wilderness and headed towards the Promised Land, Moses and Aaron leading the way.
“And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Exodus 16:1-3
The Lord did give the Israelites what they were asking for; if you read the rest of chapter 6 you will see that the Lord gave them manna (bread) from heaven and quail every evening. He gave them exactly what they asked for. But, later on in the book of Exodus, the Israelites are complaining again, complaining that they are sick and tired of manna and quail, but isn’t that what they asked for?
As I prayed to the Lord God, and complained about the situation we find ourselves in, I realized that I too have been complaining as the Israelites’ did. I saw, and I wanted, so my prayers and petitions were focused on it, and begging God to give it to me. And He did, just as He did the Israelites. I am no different than they were, wandering around in the wilderness of sin, complaining to the Lord, and asking for things that I have no need to ask for. But my flesh and my eyes got the best of me, now, as I have to make sacrifices and give up other things to keep the one thing that I wanted so desperately, I am complaining. I too have found myself “sick and tired” of what I asked for!
Oh, what a wretched woman that I am! I wanted it, so I got it, however, it may not have been the wisest of “wishes”. But the Lord God, in all His goodness and faithfulness has shown me that sometimes, He will give us exactly what we ask for to show us and to teach us a very important lesson. That lesson is Sovereign grace and mercy over our mistakes. Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean that we won’t make mistakes, in fact, we will make thousands of them, but God is still God and He is still in control.
He knew before I did that the lust of my eyes were going to get the better of me, and He allowed me to walk into this financial burden, knowing full well that I was going to be complaining to Him about it. Yet, He still allowed it. God told Moses that He was going to give the Israelites what they were asking for, knowing that there was going to come a day when they would complain that all they ever ate was manna and quail, and they were sick to death of it, but He still gave it to them.
So many times we pray and beg God to do this one thing for us, and then when we get it, we complain because of the burden of it, and then we pray for the Lord God to get us out of it. That is exactly what I did. I prayed and begged God to do this one thing for me, to give this one thing to me, and He did. I was praising and rejoicing, feeling like a spoiled princess by my Heavenly Father. But when I realized the ramifications of my “wishes”, I was back on my knees begging God to fix it. It seems so silly when you think about it, but it is what I did, and now, as my Loving God so graciously put it, “I asked for it, now I have to trust Him through it.” And even though He knew the consequences of my “wishes” before I did, He still allowed me to have it.
The Lord told Moses why He gives us what we ask for, even when He knows it is not what is best for us. “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” (Exodus 16:11-12) And we shall know that He is the Lord our God. He knew the affects that this “wish” of mine would have, this want and desire for this one thing would do- but He gave it to me. He allowed me to experience this because He is God, and He will always know what is best for me, always.
I have learned that I am to trust Him, always and for all things. If He gives it to me, Praise be to God, if He chooses to withhold it from me, Praise be to God. He sees before I do, and if something is not good for me, then He will not let it come near me. He is my protector, my counselor, my guide and my provider- all His thoughts toward me are good and not evil, He desires to give me a future and a hope. I need to trust that and praise Him with or without. I guess that is what Paul meant when he said, “...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content;” Philippians 4:11.
I have learned that not only am I to trust Him with all things, (all means all and that’s all all means) but that I am to be content and confident in knowing that He knows best. Like that old TV show, “Father Knows best,” our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us, because He has created us, designed us, and purposed us to be His and only His. If I want something or “wish” for something, I am to bring it to Him, ask and then leave the decision in His hands. If I receive the request, Praise God, if I do not, Praise Him even more! Learning this lesson has been difficult, and humbling, and I will probably be like the Israelites and have to learn this lesson all over again- but I hope not!
Whatever state we are in, whatever request we are waiting on, Praise God, with or without it! Amen!