Wake The Churches

What do You Want?

jesusA Simple Question

deserves a simple answer.

But that’s not how I thought about it when I first heard that simple question.

“What do you want, John?”

God asked me the night of November 15, 2005.

This question came as a surprise, it had been almost 2 years since Cara had passed away and Matthew and I were just getting by living in a twin home in Mound Minnesota. I was working selling discount cards door to door, either for Pizza places or for Service Stations. But things were not going the way I had hoped when I started the job.

And then I hear this question from the Lord come at me out of the blue, “What do you want, John?”

I knew as I went down to bed that the Lord and I were going to have a talk.

“What do you want, John?” He said again.

I had heard it earlier in the evening. So, it didn’t come as a complete surprise that I heard it again. I had been worrying about the bills and the fact that the job I had, while good, was just not cutting it, not with all the bills I had to deal with. I knew I needed help financially.

But I felt that I really had the ear of the Lord on this. HE was really listening to me, hearing my prayers.

And I knew, that God is GOD, and HE has many ways HE can help someone.

So, when I first heard this question from HIM, “What do you want, John?” I was thinking hard about how to answer it. I had thought to myself that when I answer that question, I’m going to ask for the money I’d need to pay the bills at least.

I was going to talk to HIM about being home with Matthew and writing for HIM. Of wanting to focus on the work HE wanted me to do for HIM and money to live on while I was doing that. But when I got down to bed, and really started thinking of answering God, telling what I wanted, that’s not what I asked for.

What did I REALLY want?

I remembered the story in 1 Kings about Solomon, when God asked him the same question. He didn’t ask for wealth or a long life, he asked for wisdom to govern the people of God. And it pleased God, and not only did God give Solomon wisdom, but also a long life and much wealth.

I thought, I had better be careful how I answered this question.

I thought, if I ask for wisdom to use the gifts and talents God has given me, I will not only please God, but because of that wisdom, I will know what paths do go down in this life, paths that will please God, and allow me to do HIS work. So, I lay down and, heard the question again, “What do you want, John?”

And I answered, “Wisdom to use the gifts and talents you’ve given me well.”

But then I heard God say, “What else do you want?”

Well, this did catch me off guard. What else do I want? I thought a moment and said, “Give me health.”

And again I heard God say, “What else do you want?”

By now I’m thinking in the back of my mind, I’ll ask for a few things like wisdom and health, and at the end, I’ll ask for the money we need. But before that the word, “Love,” came into my thoughts. And so I said, “Give me Love, Lord. Love for You, for Matthew and for those You send my way.”

And God said, “What else do you want?”

Wow, I thought. What else?

“Joy, Lord. I want Joy in my life.”

“What else do you want?” God said.

I thought a moment and went over what I’d ask for, wisdom, health, love and joy… Peace seemed to come next. “I’d like Peace in my life Lord.”

“And what else would you like John?” HE said.

Oh my, I thought. What would be good to ask for? Should I ask for the money we need now? No, that didn’t seem to be a right thing to ask for. And then I remembered Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and said, “Give me meekness, a humble spirit Lord. So that what ever else you might bless me with through my life, I won’t let it go to my head or become too proud.”

“What else would you like John?” The Lord asked again.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. God kept asking me what I wanted. Well, I thought over everything again, wisdom, health, love, joy, peace, and a meekness or humble spirit. What should come next?

“A repentant heart Lord, give me a repentant heart. So that when I mess up, I will be sorry.”

“And what else would you like John?” God asked again.

Oh my, wisdom, health, love, joy, peace, meekness or a humble spirit and a repentant heart. What could I ask for next?

I remembered a verse I had just studied, “Be strong in the Lord.” And so I said, “Strength Lord, give me strength in You and in the things you give me to do.”

By now, when the Lord asked me the same question again, I was beginning to count up all the things I’d been asking for. Wisdom, health, love, joy, peace, a humble spirit, a repentant heart and strength. That was 7 things I’d ask of the Lord and HE was still asking me what I wanted.

All I could think of was, help. So I said, “Help Lord, give me Help with all that I do and all that I need to get through this life, for your Glory, not mine.”

“What else would you want John?” HE said again.

And at this point all I could think of was forgiveness.

“Lord,” I said, “I’d like Your forgiveness for all the things I’ve done wrong.”

And of course, HE said, “You have it.”

And I didn’t hear the question again. And I was glad, because I don’t think I could have thought of another thing to ask for, other then the money Matthew and I needed and it just didn’t feel right to ask for something so earthly and something that could go as quickly as it could come.After I finished my normal evening prayers and lay down to sleep, I spoke to the Lord and said, “Lord, you know my other needs and if you choose to bless me with a lot of money, I’ll leave it up to YOU. YOU know what’s best and it might not be right to give me all the money I’ve been asking for, for so long. And if it wouldn’t be a good idea, then I know and trust in YOU to help us in some other way. I leave all up to YOU, YOU know what we need and how best to fill those needs. I trust in YOU Lord, to do what is best. If it is best to win something or be blessed with a lot of money in some other way, YOU’LL do it. I trust in YOU.” And so, below is the list of the ten things I asked the Lord for and I will trust in God to fulfill the other things Matthew and I have need of.

1. Wisdom

2. Health

3. Love

4. Joy

5. Peace

6. Meekness or a humble spirit

7. A repentant heart

8. Strength

9. Help

10. Forgiveness

November 16, 2005

The next day was fitful. I was worried and nervous about things. Did I ask for the right things, shouldn’t I have asked for the money we need? Did I leave something out?

As the day progressed, I learned that the contract we’d been waiting for was finally going through. Carbone’s Pizza was finally going to start and I might even be able to get going on it next Saturday. But I was still worried. How was I going to get through the next week and how would I pay the bills I needed to pay? I knew this job and even this new contract, was not going to deliver the kind of money I needed, not with all these bills.

As the time to go to work came, I was even more nervous. I was working an oil change card in Edina and it hadn’t been going the best. But I said to myself, I know the Lord wants me to Try, even if HE’S going to bless me with money from somewhere else, HE wants me to go out tonight and try. And so, I got ready, planned which streets to go down, asking God to Lead me and off I went.

As I was driving into the city, I thought about what I’d asked for the night before. And it came to me, I should have asked for one more thing. I should have asked for a Grateful Heart. I try and thank God for everything, and I never want to lose that. So, I asked God right there in the car on the way in to work, “Give me a grateful heart that I might always thank YOU for every good thing that happens to me.”

And I thought; last night I asked for all these things, among them joy and peace, and I was not feeling anything close to joyful let alone peaceful.

Well, the Lord gave me something to be not only thankful for, but joyful too. Walking around those streets that night, I sold first, 1, then a 2nd, a 3rd and finally a 4th card. And I met some really nice people, even the ones who didn’t buy, were very nice. Unlike Monday night that week, when I had met not only a grump, but a ‘real grump’ and then a ‘Super Grump.’ This night, I met some great people. And I just felt so Bless and so grateful to God as I headed home. I Thanked God all the way home, not only for the 4 sales, but for the nice people.

That night, as I lay down
in bed, I asked God, “Could I ask for one more thing?”

“Of course.” HE answered.

“Give me a Grateful heart, Lord. That I might always be thankful for what you’ve given me and how you’ve Blessed me.”

“Of course.” HE said again.

Now, I thought, there’s 11 things I have asked of the Lord. And not 11 things like money or a new car or house, not things that would wear out in a short time, but things that would last me all of my life and into eternity.

I don’t know how HE will work these things out in my life, but I know, if HE will give me these 11 things, I will be better, those around me will be better and the Lord will be pleased.

And now, as I write this…

Oh Lord, number 12 just came to me. And so I’ll write it here and ask God for this one more thing.

“Oh God, Let me always work to Please YOU. Let me Please YOU.”

Do I have to wait till tonight to ask HIM? No, I hear HIS answer now…

“Of course, John. Of course.”And that makes 12.

1. Wisdom

2. Health

3. Love

4. Joy

5. Peace

6. Meekness or a humble spirit

7. A repentant heart

8. Strength

9. Help

10. Forgiveness

11. A grateful heart

12. Let me always Please YOU.

Thank YOU Lord for Listening and Loving.

And now I feel the need to write this all in a prayer, so I sit down at the computer and write it out. Little did I know how many times I would revise that prayer.

But I finished it and feeling pretty good about myself and the prayer, I start a Bible study. But as I was listening to the Pastor go through the first few verses of Colossians, it came to me.

I should have asked for Faith.

Faith, how could I have left that out? Of course I need faith. Faith in God, Faith in HIS plan for my life, Faith that all things are working together for good, we all need faith.

But, I really didn’t want to keep adding things to my list and I thought about what I had asked for and if there was something that stood out, as not quite belonging with the rest. And then it hit me, Health. It’s like asking for a long life, one of the things Solomon didn’t ask for, but received. And if I look at all the other things I had asked for, asking for health just didn’t seem right. It just didn’t seem to fit.

So, I asked the Lord, “Can I make some adjustments Lord?”

And HE answered me, “Of course you can John. I want you to work this out with ME. Go ahead and make your adjustments.”

“Well then Lord, let’s take Health out, and put Faith in, in its place. Is that okay?”

“Of course it is John. Let’s make the change now.”

And so, here’s the new, revised list:

1. Wisdom

2. Faith

3. Love

4. Joy

5. Peace

6. Meekness or a humble spirit

7. A repentant heart

8. Strength

9. Help

10. Forgiveness

11. A grateful heart

12. Let me always Please YOU.

And that meant, redoing my prayer for the second time.

But I wasn’t done yet.

I think, how foolish of me, to have not thought of asking for Faith. We all need Faith. Without Faith, it is impossible for YOU to work, the Bible tells us.

Thank YOU for letting me work on this. Thank YOU for being a God who knows we all need to work on our relationship with YOU and for being so very patient with us, your children.

While going to get Matthew from School that day I kept thinking about my prayer and while it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t quite right. And so, I when I get back home I sit down and make my final changes to my prayer.

Oh Lord, Father in Heaven.

Give me the Wisdom to do the right things.

Give me the Faith to trust in YOU.

Give me Love to pass on to others in Your name.

Grant me, the Peace and Joy in my life that I might be a Help to others, as You have helped me.

Give me the Strength to do the work You give me to do, but not in a self-glorifying or boastful way, but with a meekness of Spirit and a Humbleness of heart.
Oh Lord, help me to Forgive, as you have forgiven me.

And let me Repent the wrongs that I have done, to You, to others and to myself.

Let me be always Grateful for all you have given me, and done for me.

And to work to Please You in all that I do.
Amen…

There, that’s better.

Thank YOU Lord for helping me work through this.

November 17, 2005

This was a much better day, what with all the revisions to the answer and the prayer. I went to work, only got 1 sale, but I met a lot of really nice people. Thank YOU Lord.

February 2014.

I have just found and reread what I wrote way back in 2005. And there is only one thought that came to my mind as I read it, a simple thought and a simple answer to the question the Lord asked me so long ago and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it back then.

And it’s something we ALL Need.

So here it is, in answer to the Question you asked me back then Lord, “What do you want John?”

My answer is this…

“I want MORE of YOU JESUS. I want More of YOU!”

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