Thursday, November 15, 2012

Peanut Butter and Other Desires of Our Hearts

Years ago, I worked as a private duty nurse for a man who was paralyzed from the neck down. Prior to a near fatal automobile accident, Bill Campbell was a political cartoonist syndicated in 50 states in the U.S. While Bill was no longer able to draw, he was very well respected among the political sorts and still invited to attend their galas. One year, he was invited to attend a Christmas party at the Governor of Illinois’s mansion. Realizing that, due to his health condition, Bill never ventured out without his private duty nurse or a family member who could care for him, the Governor encouraged Bill to bring his entire entourage.
My son, Jake and I were pretty much a part of the fixtures at the Campbell house. From a few days after his birth, Jake and I would adventure off to work at the Campbell’s. So… when it came time to make plans to attend the Governor’s party, Jake and I were included! We were all invited to spend the night and have breakfast with the Governor, his wife and young daughter the next morning.
Pancakes were on the breakfast menu! At our house we love piping hot pancakes smothered with melted peanut butter and drizzled with maple syrup. While the maple syrup was being passed around the Governor’s table, there was no peanut butter insight. Jake leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Momma, do you suppose they have any peanut butter at this house?” The Governor heard Jake’s desire and jumped up to fetch the peanut butter.
Jake was thinking, “Wow! Even the Governor’s family eats peanut butter!” I was thinking, “If someone as prominent as the Governor is so quick to respond to our desires, imagine how responsive our heavenly Father is!
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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 (Matthew 7:9-11)!
Yet, where is the assurance in this for the imprisoned missionary who has prayed to no avail that the torture would stop? What comfort is this to the parents standing next to their child’s casket for whom they had relentlessly prayed for healing? What about the starving child who has pleaded with a seemingly unresponsive God for food? How do we explain this “unfulfilled promise” to the wife kneeling next to her bed while her husband lingers at the local bar once again? Where are their good gifts? Are they to blame for their “unanswered” prayers? What about you, does God always respond according to your requests?
Scripture says:
• Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).
If only the missionary had a tad more faith!
• If two of you agree on earth about any request you have to make, that request will be granted by my heavenly Father (Matthew 18:19).
If only the parents had contacted one more prayer group to pray for their dying child.
• Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
If only the starving child would have praised God ten minutes more each day!
• Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be open to you (Matthew 7:7)
If only the lonely wife would have prayed the right words more often!

Don’t they know
that the power to rule the world is at their finger tips
if only they would get it right!

A little exaggerated? Yet, if we would honestly consider what we often promote regarding prayer, this claim would ultimately be the end result of our reasoning, wouldn’t it? Evidently our heavenly Father must have a different idea of what “good gifts” mean than what most of us think! Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). In other words, our heavenly Father does not dish-out gifts according to a certain measure of faith, a certain number of praying people, a certain period of praise or a certain prayed phrase. We don’t have to guess at what satisfies Him!
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1John 5:14-15).
Stay tuned for part II of Peanut Butter and Other Desires of Our Hearts regarding prayer according to His will.
P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: You may also contact me at:
Bonnie Jaeckle
In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
Diagonal Progress
505 Jefferson St.
Diagonal, IA 50845

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