|My local store had put away most of its |
swim suits to make room for fall attire,
but imagine this in leopard print.
The store’s catalog clerk happily punched in the numbers to special-order one for me, and about a week later I found a phone message that it had come in. Rushing to the store, I claimed the package and went back home.
Opening it, I found, not the medium-size peach shirt, but a women’s XXL bathing suit in jungle print so amazing and bold that I was certain I could hear lions and rhinos in the background.
My husband asked why I didn’t keep it, as my very modest swimming suit is thirty years old. There was this issue of “swimming” in a very generously-proportioned swim suit.
Sometimes, I think, we are guilty of generously-proportioned praying that reeks of “Self.” Like this:For mySELF Lord, if You don’t mind, I’d like a perfect body [no more shopping in the gnormous sizes section], impeccable health [make me a pain-free zone], a Harvard I.Q., and a stress-free job that allows me to buy my move-in-ready dream house with cash.
I know this goes against “name-it-claim-it” teaching. But I wonder if we often reduce God to a prayer-order catalogue. We tend to advertise Christ as the One who takes away our pain and sorrow as we fill out the order form with grand requests for the way we’d like life to happen.
A prime example of that was the Zebedee brothers. Two Gospel accounts (Matt. 20:20-28 and Mark 10:35-45) recount a conversation in which they (or, in one version, their pushy mother) asked for high honors in Christ’s kingdom. Jesus asked if they were ready to drink the cup He was to drink—and He didn’t mean orange soda. He meant giving one’s life for another, as He would soon do at
Serving others. Being willing to be last, not first.
The believer who serves is often one who’s had to learn the hard lessons that we don’t pray for a perfect life. Ease does not build spiritual muscle. Fame doesn’t guarantee faithfulness. God knows exactly what is our best “fit.” When we place an order by prayer, we ask, “Not my will, but thine.” Often, what He brings our way is lots better than what we imagined.
Maybe with the exception of wrong-size swimsuits.