You're Asking for Too Much
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
In this recent season of life, sending our oldest to college, among other things, we have spent an unusual amount of time in prayer. Namely, in supplication. Asking of the Lord. Asking for things that only He can supply. And He has been so good to us. So good, in fact, that I have recently begun to tell myself, “that’s enough Stephanie, you can’t ask for anything else right now, you’re done for a while. The Lord has been so good and gracious and merciful and sweet in this season that you would seem ungrateful to continue to ask for anything else at this point.”
Shortly thereafter, the great Corrector (the Holy Spirit) did His job by blatantly calling me out! “You think you can ask too much of God.” To which I replied, “Yes, yes I do! I do believe that I can ask too much of God. Case in point: Parenting. As a parent myself, there is a limit to the number of things my kids can ask of me in a given day or in a given season. I have limited resources, limited patience and limited time. I get tired. I want to change my name, move to another zip code and get some Calgon. I get annoyed after a while and I begin to think ‘why are you children so ungrateful’? If you really knew how much we have done for you (like giving birth) and continue to do for you (like allowing you to live through the terrible twos and know- it- all teen years), you would stop right there and just be grateful. Come back in a month or so and I’ll see what I can do!”
As true as that is and as funny as it may seem, in my humanity, I place God in the same category. He’s my heavenly Father and He must get tired of me constantly asking and asking and asking. But He isn’t like me. Praise God, He isn’t like me! He doesn’t tire of His children coming to Him. He doesn’t run out of the resources or patience or strength or time. He doesn’t pretend like He doesn’t hear me or use “we’ll see” as a way to pacify me and get me off the subject. Instead He INVITES me to His throne, His throne of mercy, to ASK. And the amazing thing? Scripture says, “He knows what you need before you ask.” Not merely a foreknowledge of what you will ask for but a knowledge of exactly WHAT you need. Truly He knows what I need better than I know because He knows BEFORE I know. Think that one through a few times. (Matt. 6:8,32)
So, He isn’t caught off guard when I come AGAIN to ask. He isn’t looking at me like, “Oh, it’s you again. What do you want this time?” He doesn’t roll His eyes and think, “I just answered like five of your prayers in a row yesterday! Isn’t that enough for you?” No! He invites me, He listens to me and He answers me (Ps. 40:1;145:19). Every. Time. He has created me to need Him for everything right down to the very breath I take. (Daniel 5:23)
Beloved, this is grace and it is amazing and it is uncomfortable. Do you know why I thought I could ask too much of God? Pride. Why? Because constant reliance on anyone other than self or feeling like the scales are tipped too much in someone else’s favor gives me no leverage! I can’t come to God and demand things of Him because He doesn’t owe me anything. And I know it! Therefore, I shrink back in my asking because it makes me feel...weak, needy, and humble. Which is how I am supposed to feel in the face of grace. Entitlement is off the table. Which leaves me with nothing to bargain with...nothing. I squirm and I resist it. If I’m honest, I’m sometimes angry about it.
Grace rightly viewed will cause us to realize that God not only owes us nothing but has given us everything in the person of Jesus Christ. And rather than stopping there, He continues to lavish His goodness and grace upon us. It is clear that grace is not a human idea. Grace is something only God could come up with and something only God could give. Who knows a God like our God? Besides Him there is no other!
In light of this grace I am abased. In light of this grace I truly see how good God is and how much He loves me even though I continually ask of Him. I cannot drain Him dry. He isn’t changing zip codes or closing the curtain once I’ve reached my quota of needs for the month. He is constantly in a state of giving to me. And He wants it that way. Because He made me that way. He opens His hand and satisfies the longing of every living thing! (Ps. 145:16) Oh Lord, open your hand continually to us this day!