Our Father Desires Relationship Above All
by Andy Cokayne 5 September 2020
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
During ‘Lockdown’, like many others, I have been doing things I enjoy but normally have insufficient time for, one such thing is reading. In particular one book I have found easy to read, yet challenging and informative, is by Pete Greig titled ‘God on Mute’. In it he offers various suggestions why God does not answer prayer, he says it is not exhaustive, and some are from personal experience. For one such reason, Pete quotes the following in pages 174-5, which I share below.
There is an old rabbinic story to explain why God often delays the granting of our hearts desire:
There is a king who has two sons. Each of them comes to receive his gift from the royal table. The first son appears at his father’s doorway, and as soon as he is seen, his request is granted. The father holds this son in low esteem, and is annoyed by his presence. The king orders that the gifts be handed to his son at the door so that he will not approach the table. Then the king’s beloved son appears. The father takes great pleasure in the son’s arrival and does not want him to leave too quickly. For this reason the king delays granting his request, hoping that the son will then draw near to him. The son comes closer, he feels his father’s love so deeply that he does not hesitate to stretch forth his own hand to the royal table.
The Father’s deepest desire for our lives is that we should dwell with Him and therefore come into a more fulfilling relationship with Him. By holding back blessings from our lives, God incites us to spend longer with Him in prayer, seeking our request. Both royal sons in the story were loved and received gifts of equal value. But contrary to appearances, the son whose desires were not immediately granted was, in fact, the most favoured. In God’s kingdom joy is not marked out primarily by popularity, fat bank accounts or clean bills of health, but rather by how close we are to the Father.
The following scriptures endorse this ‘Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!’ Psalm 65 v4. “If you abide in Me,” says Jesus, “and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John 15 v7
So take heart whilst we may consider that God is not granting our request because he does not like us, or we have got it wrong, the very opposite may be true. The longer we spend in someone’s presence the better we get to know them; their character; their capabilities; and their desires. If God were to grant our every whim at the drop of a hat, what would we get to know about Him, other than He is a very benevolent Grandparent type character. We are to press on in prayer, by so doing he molds our character as we learn patience, and perseverance, and we get to know our Heavenly Father far better.
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