Recently, we were in Washington D.C. gazing upon the legendary Hope Diamond. Well, briefly we were. There were so many people huddled around it hoping to catch the right moment of luster through their camera lenses that the view was somewhat obstructed. What we saw was gorgeous nonetheless and left us breathless (along with the claustrophobia from the crowds). During this visit, my mind drifted back to a sermon illustration my dad used to tell.
Unfortunately, I do not have any of the details straight. I called my mom in hopes of confirming the story, but she didn’t remember any of it. It’s times like these that I wish with all of my heart that I could just call my dad and ask him to help me get my story straight. But, he’s in Heaven, so I’ll just have to wait or else get busy listening to his old sermon tapes to try and find what I’m thinking about.
At any rate, the story generally goes something like what follows. A sultan, prince, or princess once had someone in their presence that they wanted to give a special gift to. I don’t believe this person was royalty. But they had a very unique relationship with the monarch, which spurred a heart of gratefulness for that bond. Confounded as to what to give the person as a token of friendship, the member of royalty told them that they could ask for anything and it would be given unto them.
With boldness, the person of more humble means asked the ruler for the most precious gemstone in their kingdom. The monarch was taken aback with surprise to the undaunted request. But something remarkable stirred in the bearer of the crown’s heart. There were no stipulations given to the one in humble circumstances as to what he or she could ask for. The royal member grew so glad about the audacious request from the humble friend that the request was granted! The friend went home with the most precious jewel in all the land.
Something much less grand than this happened to us this past week. But the sentiments are the same. It was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a. Now, we surely do love our Christian chicken. But what do we love more than our Christian chicken? FREE Christian chicken! That stuff is a precious delicacy in our home. The only stipulation to getting our free Chick-fil-a sandwich was that we had to dress up like cows. After some coercing, I convinced my husband to join me and don a white shirt with black dots that I had cut out of construction paper taped on. As we exited our car to walk up to the restaurant window, he scurried along while I walked with my head held high in my cow costume to retrieve our free sandwiches. Those dots on our shirts were very valuable to us that day as they protected our pocketbook’s savings.
An old beat up pickup truck was turning into the parking lot at this moment, yet stopped beside us, honked the horn, and motioned for us to wait a second while the driver rolled down his manual window. “Hey! How did you get your spots on your shirt?!” he exclaimed. I explained that I had just cut them out with construction paper and taped them on. The young man must have been about 17 years old and was driving his little brother. Both had on white t-shirts. “Could we each have just 1 of your spots each?” he timidly asked. Looking down at our spots, I said, “Sure, why not!” So we gave them each one of our spots. “Well, actually, do you think we could each have one more so we look a little more legit?” he asked a little more boldly. He had a point. So we gave each of them one more.
We went to join the rest of the herd in front of the window for our free sandwiches. The boys filed in right behind us. I turned to them and said, “Well, if I would have been thinking we could have just passed all of our spots back to you guys after we were done.” They smiled and we proceeded to order. As we stood there waiting for our order, the little brother came over and snatched one of the spots off my shirt with haste.
All I could do was stand there chuckling in surprise that he had felt comfortable enough to come to me for what he needed.
We have all been given the opportunity to ask boldly for what we need. It used to be a lot harder because a curtain separated us from the only one who has the capacity to give us what we need. But once that veil was torn from the top to the bottom by the Holy of Holies Himself as His Son provided a way for us to be reunited, we were given permission to boldly approach His throne.
This is what His Word tells us in Hebrews 4:15-16
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
I’ll bet you have some pretty big things that you need help with. I know I do. I’ve asked God for big things before and He has indeed given me the mercy and grace to help me in my time of need. This year, more than ever, though, I am learning to go with confidence to Him and ask Him for big things. That confidence doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something I have to practice. I’m not worthy to deserve anything that I ask of Him, but through His mercy and grace, I can ask anyway. Perhaps what fuels my confidence the most, though, is knowing that I won’t be rejected when I come with my request because He knows where I’m coming from and sympathizes with what I feel.
He’s felt every weakness we humans experience. Everything. Rejection, hope for the impossible, loss, discouragement, hunger, poverty, lust, crushed dreams, family turmoil. And the list goes one.
But through His sympathy with our weaknesses, He has also provided the filter to determine what we truly need. It may not be the way we expect. In the moments He supplies our needs according to His plan and not our own, He also provides the grace and mercy we need to heal and rejoice in His good plan.
I’m asking Him for help in so many things, because I’m constantly learning to trust Him for His best in ALL things.
Whether they’re the size of a spot for a cow costume or the size of a gem as rare as the Hope diamond, He has assured me that I can most definitely come to Him boldly and ask Him to give me what I need.
So what about you, friend? Are you going to daydream about your wishes? Or are you going to go confidently and ask God for something BIG?