“Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
T.S. Tuesday: On Wanting Things
“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”
― T.S. Eliot
I’m reminded of a story, a parable of a persistent friend who does not give up on what he wants.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:5-10
Wait a minute? Ask anything? Want anything? Even if it’s my fault I’m ill-prepared to take in a friend at midnight, I can still ask for bread repeatedly, obnoxiously? And Jesus goes so far as to make this the example for prayer.
I have a problem with wanting things. Well, not a problem with wanting things, but a problem with feeling guilty for wanting things. I don’t believe I’m allowed to want something unless it’s world peace or the end of poverty or the well being of someone else. I’m not allowed to want something just for me.
I also get wrapped up in thinking that it’s somehow my fault that I don’t have it in the first place–like the man who wasn’t ready to care for his traveling friend without a neighbor’s assistance. I can’t ask for it because I should have handled it on my own. I believe I’m left to handle it on my own.
And when good things happen–things I wanted–I question how much was God and how much was my “bad enough?”
The fulfillment of a selfish desire. I still feel guilty.
How is that freedom? How is that basking? Wasn’t it God who made my heart and its desires? Isn’t it God who wants to see me thriving and fulfilled? Who wants to give me joy?
Why do I have such a hard time believing He wants good things for me? Why do I have such a hard time accepting the good things? Or an even worse time asking for good things?
God, I know you know the desires of my heart. You placed them there. You knit them into the fabric of my being. I ask for wisdom in distinguishing your prompting from my selfishness. And I ask for grace when I confuse them.
I ask for humility to use the gifts you’ve given–the things I’ve wanted–to serve and bless others, to bring your Kingdom.
I ask for the courage to want something bad enough that it just might become possible. And I ask for the humility to give thanks both for the desiring and the fulfilling.