One of the common concerns serious Christians have for the church today is the “health and wealth” gospel. We fear that people will come to Christ expecting their whims to be satisfied, their lives to be long and comfortable, their children bright and successful. In contrast, Christ said following him would mean suffering and giving up everything.
A lesson that may be missed in this discussion though, or at least that I have missed frequently, is that God delights in us taking refuge in Him and trusting in His provision. He gives good things, and works all things for the good of those who love Him; He promises that just as He clothes the lilies of the field, He will clothe us.
For some reason it takes me a while to consider a request worthy to take to God; I hesitate to ask Him for His aid as though that would be looking on Him as a genie that is there to grant my wishes. This may be a real possibility, but we cannot ignore that God wants us to cast our cares on Him; Jesus tells us to pray in this manner: “Give us this day our daily bread…” and Paul says “in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God.”
Certainly we can ask amiss, as James 4 says: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” However, the antidote is not self-reliance! “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Instead we are to “draw near to God,” to “humble [ourselves] before the Lord,” and to “be patient.”
I will not say that every request I’ve made has been answered directly- yes, sometimes, or rather always the answer is “my grace is sufficient for you.” But I have seen His goodness in providing what I need- and usually after I’ve stumbled around for a bit and finally remembered to ask.
So I’m preaching to myself first: Let us not be ashamed to ask our gracious God for good things- may we do it first rather than after exhausting all other options.
“Indeed, none who wait for you [God] will be put to shame.” Ps. 25:3