If you could ask God for just one thing
When I was a child, I would sometimes think about what Heaven would be like. All I really understood was that Heaven was this great place where we would “be with God forever” and everyone would be happy. Well, to my little mind, the greatest place I would want to spend long lengths of time in would obviously be chock full of my favorite Saturday morning cartoon toys. I had it all planned…when I got to Heaven, I was going to ask God for the ENTIRE COLLECTION of He-Man action figures and playsets. Pure bliss, as far as I was concerned, required a large amount of the best toys I could imagine.
Even as I’ve grown and matured in my understanding of God, Heaven, and Eternity Future, my desire to ask God for “just one thing” hasn’t subsided, but the “one thing” I would ask for has changed. At various stages of my life, it’s been financial assistance, romantic love, new friends, a new job, a healthy baby, my own health, the health of someone else, a reasonably-comfortable life, and many other things.
Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but if I’m feeling very spiritually mature, I tell people that when I get to Heaven, the only thing I plan on asking God for is a blue-ray history lesson narrated by Him. I just want to know why stuff happened like it did and how He worked through it all.
But when you look closely at my progressing list of “just one thing” requests, not much has changed since I was fully enamored by plastic toys. Even though I’m asking Him about good things for myself or others, I’m still treating God like a cosmic vending machine. Even if God actually gave me the toys, the money, and the good health…each “one thing” item is still something that I could lose, something that could be taken away from me.
In the second stanza of Psalm 27, David asks God for “one thing”. His ask puts his life and God in the proper perspective:
I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking Him in His temple.
For He will conceal me in His shelter
in the day of adversity;
He will hide me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high on a rock.
Then my head will be high
above my enemies around me;
I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Relationship. Created Being relating back to his Creator. That is the most important “one thing” we could ask for, and it will not be taken away from us, not even in the day of adversity. However, we often let life’s issues and detours distract us from the true aim of our lives – to know God and to be known by Him.
I think C.S. Lewis summed us up rather well, even if it does sting a little:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
It’s good to pray about all our requests, cares, and concerns, for God has instructed us to do so (Philippians 4:6). However, the next time you do ask for something, go for the biggest thing you can ask Him for. Ask God to give you Himself. Seek a deeper relationship with Him. Ask for even a glimpse at His glory. Ask to be closer to Him, even if that means dealing with enemies and adversity. God’s beauty and splendor exceeds everything we can see on this earth.
Ask for Him. He will not disappoint.