In Brazil, we can only get our driver’s license when we turn 18, but when I was a teenager I was always trying to find opportunities to drive my parents’ cars. I remember taking the car out and washing it, just to justify driving around the block “to dry it”. Waxing it would be worth two or three laps. A quite symbiotic relationships: they got a clean car, and got my joy ride. I would never go too far, trying not to risk being stopped by the police.
When my sister turned 18 (she is older than I am, even though you wouldn’t tell), she got her license, and my dad got her a baby blue VW Beetle (which I would wash and wax once in a while). Since my dad wanted to be fair, he said he was going to deposit an equivalent amount of money of what he had spent with her car in a savings account in my name, and that would be my 18th birthday present (3 and a half years down the road).
That was when I jokingly said “well, I could buy a motorcycle meanwhile”. I just teasing my mom, thinking she would say “absolutely not”. Instead she said “we’ll see, we’ll see”.
My dad and I looked at each other in disbelief. Since my dad had a BSA 250 when he was young, I immediately got an ally. It took me a well crafted campaign and a few months of persistently asking, until I finally got a “yes”.
I know she was not happy about that at all, but she agreed. My dad and I quickly started looking for a used bike, and found a nice 1973 Honda CB 125L (just like the one in the picture above).
To make a long story short, I had it for 3 years, rode in our neighborhood, went to church, to friends houses, and had a lot of fun. Thankfully I never crashed it, and never dropped it.
Was it the right thing to let me have the motorcycle? I am not sure. I was OK, but I am happy my kids didn’t come with the same request.
I see in the Bible that people persistently asked God for something and in some occasions God gave that to them, even when it was not His primary plan for that person’s life.
For example, there is a king that asks for more years of life and when those are granted they turn out to be the worst years of his life.
That makes me think about my prayers. Am I asking for things that God would prefer to not give me?
Don’t get me wrong, we have an omniscient God and there are things that He will not give us, no matter what. We may turn blue asking. He knows better.
But there is room for petitions that He may allow us to get, even though that was not His plan A for our lives.
So, here is the dilemma: God wants to hear us presenting our requests to Him. That shows our dependence. That shows our recognition of His power. We have been given the tremendous privilege of having access to the Father. But we could ask for the wrong things.
The best way to reduce that risk is to express the desire of our hearts, even persistently, but always ask Him to ultimately do it the way He knows is the best and be humble and recognize His sovereignty.
His love will take care of the rest (sometimes it is hard, very hard to see it, but somehow we know it is there).
Keep on praying…
Psalm 86:6, 7, 11-13 puts this way:
“Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.”