While standing on the creek bank recently, I realized something about myself that I never knew. The fishing was slow, and I closed my eyes for a moment and said, “Lord, please let me catch a fish soon.” It was a half-hearted prayer, but I heard something in those words that I am not proud of about myself.
I want God to bless me every day in every way. I want each day to have something good happen to me. I want my lesson or sermon to go well and people to like what I have to say. I want to catch fish or have a successful hunt. I confess to you that I desire for God to bless my life, and I would like him to do it TODAY! NOW! SOON! Let the good things flow into my life.
Theologians through the years have used this simple analogy to describe this type of thinking. They say the temptation is to seek the hands of God and not his face. We are like children who run to dad after a trip to see what he is holding in his hand for us. What gift does he have for us? We love what he gives us more than we love him. We want the blessing more than the person.
As believers, we are surrendering our life to God because he is God. Sometimes that will bring us great blessings as we follow him, but that is not always the case. There may also be trials and tribulations. We may have to suffer to learn to love him. Dark seasons may come to teach us to trust him completely. Some days the skies will be dark and foreboding so that the needed rain can come for our souls.
All of us want God to bless us, and the harsh reality is that numerous blessings come dressed as hard work, seasons of pain, and closed doors. Maybe our desires as believers should be for his leadership and love more than the blessings. But that would require great faith in a benevolent God, and I would rather the fish bite now.