My favorite show when I was younger was “I Dream of Jeannie.” She had a colorful Arabian outfit, with a bouncy blond ponytail, and not to mention an awesome abode in a purple bottle filled with a bazillion plush pillows. Oh yeah, and she was a genie. She just folded up her arms and nodded her head and BAM—mini pony. BAM—yacht with a hot tub. BAM— a million dollars.
Sometimes, I want you to be Jeannie (sans the outfit exposing your midriff). Sometimes I just want to ask you for something and I want you to fold up your arms, nod your head, and grant me whatever I wish whenever I want it to happen.
After all, you are so much more powerful than Jeannie and 1960s television attempts at special effects (it was fishing line that made her bottle move, I know).
I know I’ve been guilty of having this expectation that as a Christian, You are going to bless me with whatever I want. I’d hate to add up how many of my prayers have been asking you for something. More money. An apartment with a washer and dryer in it and a garbage disposal (what luxury!). A new car. For my student loans to magically disappear. For this annoying person I don’t like to suddenly get a job offer on the other side of the country so I don’t have to see them anymore (I really wasn’t kidding about that one).
Gimme, gimme, gimme.
I was reading through Matthew and the scene where Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane the night he was betrayed. I’ve heard these words before of course, but they really stuck with me this time. His prayer was: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). In a nicer way than I’ve done before, he’s asking for something from you. He didn’t want to have to go through what was going to happen and honestly, can you blame him? But yet, he follows it with something I hardly ever do—he submits to your will. In the end, he wants nothing more than for your will to be done.
It got me thinking of the verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). I think we try to use this verse to justify our “I Dream of Jeannie” attitude— surely if I’m delighting in the Lord he’s going to give me everything I want! But what does “delighting” mean? If we are truly “delighting,” truly spending enough time with you to know you, to know your promises for us, wouldn’t the desires you have for us become the ones we want for ourselves?
Knowing you, you can do much greater things than Jeannie ever could (don’t tell Barbara Eden that).
So I’ll ask for you to sit on your throne, and wave our almighty and outstretched hand, and have your will be done in my life.