A GOOD Answer

A GOOD Answer

 By Eddie Boggess

From Cedar Grove House to House/Heart to Heart September/October, 2012

            He was only doing what his friend had asked him.  According to police, that is the excuse that a 25-year-old man gave them for shooting his friend in the leg with a .22 caliber rifle.  According to a recent news report1, New York State police say that Shawn Mossow shot his friend once in the leg in response to the friend's repeated requests for him to do so.  Apparently, the friend was determined to find out what it felt like to be shot.  Now he knows. He is expected to make a full recovery. His friend, the alleged shooter, was charged with reckless endangerment. 

             Would you shoot a friend in the leg if he asked you?  Most of us would have more sense than to do this, even if we were asked repeatedly. Most of us would recognize that in this particular case doing what our friend asked would make us less of a friend to him.  Most of us understand that part of being a friend or loving someone is doing what is best for him, not necessarily what he asks.  We need to understand that same truth when it comes to God and prayer.

             God makes some phenomenal promises to Christians regarding prayer.  One example is 1 John 3:22, "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight."  Some take this promise to mean that God has obliged Himself to give us whatever we ask. Such an interpretation would make God like the mythical genie in the magic lamp, and our wish to be His command. Yet, in those stories how often does the person making wishes regret getting exactly what he asked?

             God is not like the genie in the lamp.  He does not always give us whatever we ask, because sometimes, like Shawn Mossow's friend, we ask for something that we do not really need or that would even be harmful for us.  God only gives good things—without variation (James 1:17)—because He loves us.  "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:9-11).  A loving parent would never intentionally give his child something harmful.  Even if the child asked for something harmful, not knowing any better, the parent would certainly refuse the request.  God is the same with us.  Even though we make our request repeatedly, God will never grant a request for us that is not something in our best interest.  This even means that we will go through painful experiences, because sometimes even pain is for the best (Hebrews 12:5-11). 

             When it comes to prayer, we can trust God to answer in a way that is best for us.  We may not always understand how it is best, but we can trust that it is. 

 1.   http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57434752-504083/best-frenemies-shot-in-the-leg-upon-request/