Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?

Posted on October 13, 2010

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Could you really use a wish right now? 

If you had that one wish to make, what would you wish for?

I’m sure many of you would wish for love– maybe the love of one specific person.  Some would wish for beauty– maybe beauty that will get you the person you love.  Maybe the most important one to you is success.  Maybe it is something much less deep and much more practical- you would wish to get that job, or win that car, or for your sister or loved one to get better.

Imagine with me a girl who would like to make a wish about her health.  Every month when she gets her period (sorry guys), she experiences excruciating pain.  Every month she is completely bedridden and in pain she can’t overcome.  She misses commitments, comes off as flaky, and is in physical pain for 2 out of 4 weeks in the month.  Her wish would probably go something like, “Make the pain go away!” She goes to the doctor and tells him her wish in more practical terms- she needs a  painkiller!  And a POWERFUL one, at that. 

But what if this girl had endometriosis?  Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that the body should be expelling during a period is actually growing in other areas of the body.  Imagine if she took a painkiller every month, alleviating the pain, and the tissue continued to grow inside her abdomen.  What this girl needed was surgery, not a painkiller.

When you make a wish, it is because something hurts. Something literal, like a disease that you or a loved one has.  Maybe it is a small tug on your heart.  Maybe it’s even larger than that and something in your heart is awry- and if only you had ____ it would be okay. 

I would suggest that you don’t need a local anesthetic.  Your wish- the first one to pop in your head- is slippery.  You might wish you had a million dollars so that you could buy a car so that you could eliminate stress (between you and your significant other) so that you could hire a personal trainer (so that you could be skinny, so that you could be beautiful) so that you could buy your parents a house so that you could pay off all your loans so you could finally settle down so that you could save Haiti.  Maybe you are even more unselfish than most of us- and you wish that you could remove that hurting part of the heart from everyone in all of humanity. So many wishes stem from just one.  Wishes are symptoms, not solutions.

Being human in a lot of ways is like having endometriosis- inside of us is a lot of hurt and insecurity and discontentment that will never permanently disappear without the intervention of Jesus Christ.

God tells us: “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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”  God tells us over and over again to avoid our “deceitful desires” (desires that lie to us about what the real problem is).  This isn’t because he is restricting, it is because he is an excellently skilled doctor.  And he LOVES you. 

Let’s imagine that the girl in the earlier paragraph went to God and asked “Make the pain go away!”  Would God say, “Technically, you didn’t ask for the right thing… and you only get one chance so you’re out!” No! However, he would probably not just give that girl a prescription for Vicodin, either.

Right after the verses that promise us that if we ask, seek, and knock, we will be answered, Jesus says, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! “ God is not a big fat jerk who wants to rob you of your wishes and respond ironically in a situation that is deadly serious.  That girl would get just what she needed- surgery and treatment for endometriosis.

Jesus is in the business of healing us, and not just physically.  He is transforming us into new men and women. It is as painful as surgery, but also as necessary. You don’t need an airplane or a shooting star.  You have a God waiting and inviting you to ask.  Look away from the night sky and spend some time writing down what your wishes are on a piece of paper, and then ask God to take that piece of paper and answer you.  He promised he would.

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