Earlier this week, I received the answer to one of my most fervent prayers: my graduation. For those who know me, I have literally overstayed my welcome in the campus to the point that I actually thought I would never graduate at all. But God showed Himself faithful every single day and before I knew it, I am on the verge of claiming what has eluded me the past eight years. With my time in the academe thankfully running out, I mustered all my effort, poured out my heart and soul like I never did before on my academics, and kept my faith. I knew that on my own, I would surely fall short. Still, I had faith. God has shown me that He was sovereign, that He can turn things around. Despite the troubles I faced, I was sure of it: I will graduate this semester and march later this April.
Then, Monday came. The moment of truth. The answer to my prayers was at hand. But it was not something I was expecting.
Turns out, I won’t be able to march later this April. I still have to do some revisions. By the grace of God I took it well, His peace guarding my disappointed heart. Still, it was very difficult to accept.
We all have experienced moments like this. We pray to God, asking Him to give us this one thing, while quoting verses such as Matthew 7:8 along the way. Yet, the answer we receive is contrary to what we ask for. As a result, we throw tantrums at God, venting our frustrations and disappointments at Him for not giving us what we want. “What happened to Matthew 7:8, Lord?” we ask, our voices clothed in anger and sadness. “I asked, I sought, I knocked, but I got nothing. Do you really care for me at all?”
The answer of course is a resounding yes. Even when we don’t get what we prayed for at the time we want it, we can still be confident of God’s goodness in our lives, as we will see in the verses that proceed after the passage quoted.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
This verse is a welcome comfort to us whenever we feel like God “let us down.” God will surely give good gifts to those who ask Him! That’s the truth! Yes, I did not get what I want, but what God gave me was what I really, really need. I asked Him for bread, and He did give me bread. I just don’t recognize it yet, since all I am perceiving from what He has given me at this time is a hard, crusty, inedible stone. But make no mistake, what He has given me is real bread. And I know that even if I can’t see it yet, I can still say “Lord, thank You for giving me bread even though I thought it was stone.”
“But wait,” a question interjects. “How can you be so sure? How can you be confident in a God who did not give you what you want?”
I can be confident because God knows what I need more than I do. He is all-knowing. He knows the plans He has for me, and they are good, pleasing and perfect. His thoughts concerning me are as numerous as the stars in the sky, and they are very precious. He has ordained my life story even before I was born and predestined me for greater things.
I can be confident because God is good, and even better than we can ever imagine. His love endures forever and is better than life. He cares for me deeply. He has my name written on the palm of His hand and has the very hairs on my head numbered. He knows me by name and I am His.
Most of all, I can be confident because God saved me even though I was His enemy. He left His throne and humbled Himself to find me. He stooped down and washed my dirty feet. And on that fateful day, He took the spear that was intended for me. He received the flogging that was supposed to be mine. He carried my cross and the death sentence that had my name on it. Jesus Christ was murdered for me.
If God did not withhold His one and only Son for me, what good thing will He keep from me? This is why I can be grateful, though I did not get the answer I wanted. And I hope that you too will see that God has been nothing but good to you. And He wants you to receive the ultimate Bread: His very Presence.
Yes, eating stone-hard bread may be a little painful. But it’s still bread. And it is still good for you and me. After all, hard bread is still a thousand times better than actual stone.