Standing in Confidence in God’s Will!
On a recent trip to El Paso and Phoenix, Pearl and I stopped in Ozona for the night. In the morning we took a stroll over to the Davy Crockett museum (which was closed for construction, unfortunately) and we posed for pictures with the statue which serves as a local landmark for the area. At the bottom of the statue is the inscription, “Be sure you are right then go ahead.” Crockett was famous for this phrase, but for me at this point in my life it served as an exclamation mark to a very important life lesson I have recently learned.
The Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive.” (Luke 11:9) I believe God does indeed give us what we ask for, but I think a lot of people take that verse out of context. It’s important to look at the full story that this verse belongs to:
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Think about it. What is the friend in this story asking for?
Consider an alternative scenario:
It’s 3 am. You are asleep at home with your family and your friend calls and says, “Dude, I’ve been up partying and playing Halo all night and I got some serious munchies. But I’m out of money. Can I come over right now to borrow money for some Jack in the Box tacos and a milk shake?”
What do you think your answer would be in this scenario? I think most people would be extremely annoyed with the friend. They say that a good friend is someone you can call on at any time for any reason, but that welcome is soon worn out when it is abused. Most people are likely to tell that “dude” no, and if he persists, they will hang up on him for sure.
Look at the difference between the alternative scenario and the story that Jesus told. The friend in Jesus’ story was actually doing a selfless deed. He was trying to find food….not for himself….but for someone who had been traveling and was probably hungry. Remember, there weren’t convenience stores or twenty-four hour fast food chains. It’s quite possible that someone who traveled in those days traveled by foot and had little or nothing to eat all day. The friend in Jesus’ story was trying to fill a need in another person’s life.
In His story, Jesus is telling us how to pray. He says that when we pray selflessly, our prayers will be answered. He is not saying that every little thing we ask for, regardless of the reasons why, is going to be given to us. That promise was never made and never even insinuated.
I learned long ago that praying selfishly does not get your prayers answered. I remember going to bingo with my grandparents when I was in elementary school. I prayed to God that I would win, maybe even win the jackpot! But I didn’t win. God didn’t answer that prayer because I was praying for something very selfish. To me it wasn’t about the money. I didn’t really understand money very well at that age. I wanted the thrill of being the one lucky person in the whole building to be singled out and praised for hitting the jackpot. It would have been so glorious! Looking back now, I thank Him for not giving me what I prayed for. It was a lesson in humility.
Now fast forward thirty years to my father’s last fishing trip with me and my brother, Gerald. By that time I had learned about which prayers we can expect God to answer. My prayer on that day was that my father would catch the most fish and that he would have a wonderful time with us. That prayer was answered. It’s worth mentioning that I didn’t catch much at all and that didn’t bother me one bit. It’s a different kind of pleasure that comes to us when we see selfless prayers get answered. There is a deeper sense of satisfaction.
Standing in Confidence
When it comes to day to day confidence, the same principle applies. If what we are doing is based on our own selfishness, it is almost impossible to stand tall and in confidence. As Christians, we know that we cannot do anything good without God. When what we desire is selfish, when we put our own wants and needs above others, we step outside of His will for us. We turn our backs on the gifts He wants to give us. In that sense, we are spiritually all alone.
But when we know in our hearts that what we are doing is based on selflessness, when we put other people’s needs above our own, then we CAN stand confidently knowing that God’s strength is behind us. When we are selfless, God lifts us up and gives us strength. When we are selfless, God makes a way for us. He clears a path and blesses us with everything we need to make that selflessness work. When we live this way, God answers all of our prayers and we can walk forward in our lives with the confidence of knowing He is with us.
I was reminded of this life lesson when I read the inscription at the bottom of the Davy Crockett statue. Be sure you are right, in God’s eyes. Be sure that what you are doing is going to selflessly bless people, then DO IT! Do it in confidence knowing that God is behind you all the way.