What do you want from God? I will never forget the time that I was in Goa, on the west coast of India. I had taken a train there which is a story in itself. I arrived at this beach that I think was called Colva. It was quite a pretty beach and there were many western tourists there, not many of them were very friendly though.
At the beach all the locals stood fully clothed, shoes and all, right at the shore line. It was about thirty degrees (celsius). To me this was weird.
One thing that pretty much stayed the same wherever I went in India was the poor. In particular the children that were not at school and possibly were homeless and would beg to survive (at least that is what it looked like). As I was crossing the bridge at the end of the road to go to the beach I caught eyes with this child. He had one leg missing and was begging.
He held out his hand for money and I gave him none; by this stage I was used to saying no to these people. I remember shaking my head and perhaps saying "Nay" (meaning no). He looked at me with this disappointed look and did the little neck wobble that Indians do when they are either dealing, or annoyed.
Anyway what struck me was not that this boy was disappointed, or even that I said no to someone who was poor. What struck me was a strong impression that felt like God saying "Indians beg off you all the time Jared, but you beg off me all the time." Boom!
What do you want from God? How do you mainly relate to him? It would seem that a large amount of the time people want God to give them some kind of blessing, usually an instant one. They want wisdom, or protection, or wealth, or beauty, or friends, or sex appeal, and so on. Do we ever just want to know God, or are we only interested in the things that God can give us.
How would this make you feel?
Let's say that you were a rich, good looking young man, not unlike myself... One day you stumbled across a beautiful woman. What say you fell in love with this beautiful woman and asked her to marry you, perhaps she says yes. So you spend months preparing for the wedding and all the rest.
Finally the wedding day arrives, you are stoked, she looks beautiful. Come that night you are married, you have given this person your heart. Then one day you come home and you open the door to see not your beautiful new wife but a layer with a piece of paper informing you that your beautiful wife no longer wants to be your wife, but does wish to keep half of your money and home.
How would you feel? You would be absolutely crushed! You would feel cheated and unwanted, you would have been a means to an end. What do you want from God?
Let the wise man not boast in his wisdom, or the rich man in his riches, or the strong man in his strength. But let him who boasts boast in this: that he knows and understands me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, righteous, and justice on the earth, for in these I delight. Declares the Lord. (Jeremiah chapter 9, verses 23–24)
I remember reading this passage years ago and it brought me to tears, it touched my heart. This is an interesting verse. When I think of the things that God would get asked most it would be these things, riches, wisdom, strength, these things are what people want from God.
When I think of myself, I am not particularly rich, neither am I particularly strong, to be honest I do think I am kinda wise, but we all know what the Bible says about that! Oh dear... I always catch myself doing unwise things. I am unable to boast about these things.
Nor do I desperately want these things from God. When I ask of myself what I want from God I realize that I want this - that I want to know Him. And this it would seem is the only thing able to be boasted in. This does not seem to stop me from still assuming the role of the beggar before God.
Let us not treat God like beggars trying to get money, power, or smarts out of Him. But may we want to know him, and that he brings those things into their right place anyway, and He even delights in giving these things their right place.
Perhaps however, if you find yourself thinking honestly "I don't actually want God, I want His stuff." Perhaps you could pray this prayer with me: "God, I want to want You!" Amen .
First published October 25, 2013
Jared Diprose is a graduate from Carey Baptist College in New Zealand. He has been a youth pastor, and currently is working as a freelance contractor. In his spare time he makes surfboards.
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