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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Failing to Ask

“You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
James 4:2b NIV

It was an amazing morning in the garden. It was a time that I will remember and treasure in my heart all of my days. It was a morning for a miracle! Setting in the garden surrounded by bright orange and yellow marigolds, graceful lantana and bright red vinca, I open my Bible to Mark and began to read.

“Then he (Jesus) left them, (the people) got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. Jesus asked them: Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ “Twelve,” they replied. And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” Mark 8:13-14, 17-21 NIV

The story regarding the need for bread abruptly stops without further mention of the incident. There is nothing written that would indicate that Jesus provided bread for the disciples. Then in verse 22 we read that the next stop was Bethsaida. ”They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.” and without hesitation Jesus restored sight to the bind man.

This story touched me in an amazing way. I need to back up and say that for months I had been struggling with my hip. It was becoming more and more difficult for me to walk without pain. I was now taking my steps to our second level one at a time. Walking any distance at all proved to be very difficult. I hadn’t been to the doctor because I thought it was a muscle strain and that it would eventually go away. The fact was it was not going away and I was getting to the point of seeking medical help.

After reading this account regarding the bread and the clueless disciples, God began to bring personal application of that scripture to my heart. I was reflecting on the fact that even though the disciples had witnessed Jesus providing bread for 9,000 people, they merely saw him as the God who met the needs of others but did not even consider the fact that he was able to meet their personal need of supplying bread for them that day. They had not because they simply neglected to ask!

I then began to pray. “Oh Jesus, what am I lacking because I simply do not ask? Jesus, what is it that you desire to give me but can’t because I have not asked?” Then the still small voice came, “what about your hip?” So I laid my hand on my hip and asked Jesus to heal my hip. If this was what Jesus wanted to do for me I knew that he was more than able. As I prayed, I felt a warmness come over my hip. The healing was not instantaneous. The healing had begun but this would prove to be a day for my continual faith.

As I moved about that day it seemed to me that the pain lessened but traces of pain still remained. Satan would say, “Jesus did not heal you.” My replay was, “Thank you Jesus that you are healing my hip.” This same conversation went back and forth all day long. The pain became less and less. By evening it was completely gone. Jesus had healed my hip. Now, over a year later that hip still continues to be free of pain.

My take away from this experience was the knowledge that I did not seek being healed. However, what I was seeking was to know what it was that Jesus wanted to do for me. It my case it happened to be healing. From that moment on I made a decision that I would regularly ask, “Jesus, what is it that you want to do for me?”

I think that it is interesting that the disciples arrived in Bethsaida without receiving bread. They definitely had no bread only because they neglected to ask for bread. The next recorded scripture was the healing of a blind man. The blind man did not ask for healing but it is recorded that others brought him to Jesus and begged Jesus to touch him. They did the asking.

I still believe that we are to ask God for anything as long as we leave the end result up to him. Asking according to his will is how he wants us to pray. But in addition, I wonder if it pleases Jesus for us to ask on the behalf of others? I think, yes. I wonder if it pleases Jesus for us to ask him to give us the special gift he so lovingly desires to give us. I think, yes. I don’t want to be guilty of trusting God for others and forgetting that he has gifts for me as well.

Jesus knows our needs even better than we do. It only takes us asking him to choose for us what it is that he desires to give to us. God’s surprises are fantastic! They are always his gift wrapped in his love. So today, I am reminded that Jesus said, “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 good gifts to those who ask him!” Matt. 7:11 NIV


What are you currently asking God for?

Are you asking according to his perfect will?

What are you asking God to do for another person?

Have you ever asked God to surprise you with his choice of gift for you?

Are you prepared to thank him in faith for his gift even before you receive it?

I do not know what God desires to give to you. It might be healing, it might be his gift of salvation, and it might be his peace, his joy, or his amazing love for you for this day. It could be his provision or it could be a tangible item that you may need. Let me offer a word of caution put your desires aside and instead seek the giver of the gift and his gift for you and you will not be disappointed.


Dear God,

What is it that you would have me ask you for today? Forgive me for neglecting to seek the gifts that bring you pleasure as you give them to me. God I want to set my desires aside and ask you for what it is that you know I need. I do not want to miss out on a single gift that you may have sitting on a shelf in heaven that is waiting just for me. I am curious about this gift that you have personally wrapped and set aside with my name specifically written on the package. So today God, I simply ask you, what it is you want me to ask you for? I will listen and wait for your response. Then I will ask specifically for that gift, and then as I wait in faith and anticipation for the arrival of that gift I will give thanks that your gift is on the way.

In Jesus Name I Pray. Amen.