I was running errands in Winnipeg yesterday, and was in a parking lot trying to get Kaylia to stop screaming and arching her back while I buckled her into her car seat, when a lady approached me.
She spoke so quietly, I could hardly hear her (although Kaylia was still screaming, so that might have had something to do with it.) She said, “Could I have two dollars for the bus?”
I stood there, pretending not to be distracted by Kaylia’s screaming, or by Anika’s attempts to get my attention, and was mentally going through my purse, trying to remember if I had anything I could give her.
And I had to tell the lady, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any change.”
I bet she’s heard that a thousand times before. (And I wanted her to know that I wasn’t lying – I really didn’t have any change! I had just been at Safeway, and couldn’t get a cart, because I didn’t even have a quarter in my wallet.)
Before I had even finished answering her, she was already turning away, looking for the next person she could ask.
And it made me think about how she wasn’t even expecting me to help her – she kind of knew my answer before I even gave it.
Then last night, I was reading my Bible, and I read that story in Acts about the crippled beggar sitting by the temple who asked Peter and John for some money. They also told him that they didn’t have any money. And I bet that he’d heard that a thousand times before, too.
But then they told him that they could give him something else – they could heal him.
I started imagining what that would have been like – to be completely dependent on people to carry you around, and to spend your life begging for money, knowing that most people would ignore you and not give you anything, to come to the point where you wouldn’t even expect good things from people, ever – no matter how many times you would ask.
And then one day, to have someone say, “I can’t give you money, but I can give you something SO MUCH BETTER!” And then to be healed – to be able to walk – to go wherever you wanted to go – to be given freedom. That’s huge!
And I wondered if sometimes God wishes that I would approach Him a little less like a broken-down, dejected beggar, and a little more like His child, confident of His love and the good gifts that He wants to give.
See, I ask for things, but I don’t really expect a lot. I go through the motions of asking, cause that’s what I’m supposed to do. And sometimes I want things, and ask for things that aren’t really that great for me. And sometimes, it seems like God says, “No, I can’t give you that…but I can give you something SO MUCH BETTER!”
And you know what’s silly? Sometimes I want my own way so much that I don’t want what God wants to give me!
It would be like the lame beggar saying, “No thanks, I don’t want to be healed – I just want the change.”
That beggar was not expecting to be healed – wasn’t even asking for it. And then he was surprised with something so amazing, so unexpected, that it changed his life forever.
I would like to have the kind of relationship with God where I expect the unexpected. To pray like I’m always remembering that I’m talking to the Creator of the universe, and to ask for anything with faith. But to always remember, too, that God can do “immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine”. That means that I’ll never find Him predictable, or be able to expect His next move.
I want to ask for huge things. I want to be healed, in every sense of the word. I want to experience all of the unexpected, and to stop expecting the left-over change.