There are many verses of Scripture that invite us to ask God for whatever we wish. I rarely hear these verses talked about much, especially the “whatever you wish” part of it. Our disappointments in life color our view of God’s heart and I think that’s why we tend to run past invitations to ask God for whatever we wish. Here’s are some of those verses:
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:7-8. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 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 what is good to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11
There are many things I’ve been asking God for, and for a long time. You probably have a similar story. You take God at His word and ask, keep on asking and knocking and yet, why hasn’t the thing you have been asking for arrived? It says, “ask whatever you wish” and it will be done for you and glorify the Father. When the answer doesn’t come, we assume that God either hasn’t heard us (so we shout louder) or, He has just forgotten about us. Or, we begin to doubt His word is even true. If we’re honest, we’ve all felt this way at some point in time. If you are following the Lord, the enemy will try to steal away God’s heart of love for you in any way he can, and maligning God’s love is just how he deceives us getting us to think that the truth isn’t true anymore, or that we’ve done something and God is mad at us and therefore will not answer our request.
I was talking to the Lord about all this recently, and He led me to John 4 and the story of Jesus asking a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. I won’t go into detail about all the wonderful things packed into that account of grace and revelation that He was indeed the Messiah, but share a couple verses for the topic at hand. The disciples had gone off to by food because they were all hungry and tired. Jesus sat at the well, where women usually came to draw water. He knew this one woman would be coming to draw water alone because she didn’t want to interact with the other women of the town. Here’s the start of their conversation:
“ Presently, when a woman of Samaria came along to draw water, Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink—For His disciples had gone off into the town to buy food—The Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan [and a] woman, for a drink?—For the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans—Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.”
Jesus asked the woman for something – a drink. And yet Jesus ends up inviting her to ask Him for living water. How this struck me was this: So many times when we ask God for something, it’s something tangible, something in our natural world that we’d like. It can be anything from a job, a spouse, some desire to follow our talents and skills, an open door of opportunity, etc. God knows we need all those things and He is never late in sending us the help and provision we need. But sometimes the things we are asking for are just a cover for the thing we really need, but perhaps are afraid to ask God directly for.
Jesus knew this woman wanted and needed love but was looking for it in all the wrong places – in men. I find Jesus’ encounter with her amazing. He turns His request for a drink into an invitation to ask Him for what she really, deep-down, needs and wants – life. In a dry, arid climate water is the most important element for sustaining daily living. He invites her to ask Him for living water – water that won’t ever run out. What I’m saying is that when we ask for “whatever we wish” and don’t get it right away, God may be trying to get us to see that it’s not the thing that we really want, but something much deeper.
The conversation continued, “Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life. The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come [continually all the way] here to draw.”
The woman thought that not coming to the well anymore would be a great help to her. But Jesus wanted to give her something much better than natural water. God’s desire is to give us something better than we’d settle for in the natural world. Perhaps you are seeking and asking God for a job, (or whatever your need or desire is) but deep down what you really “wish for” you can’t seem to ask for. What if the job (or something else) really represents a place where you fit in, a place where you belong and have a sense of purpose and significance? Maybe the answer hasn’t come because God wants you to ask Him for all those intangible things rather than just the “thing” itself. Really, life has a way of beating us up at times and we lose that sense that God really and deeply cares about our need for love, for significance, for belonging, etc. I’m not saying God holds out and doesn’t supply our needs until we ask for the thing we really might need. Of course He wants to supply “all” our needs! All I’m saying is that there are times when He draws us into conversation, like the woman at the well, in order to uncover perhaps our very place of vulnerability. For that lady, she had lost at love 5 times and was on her 6th try at it. He only uncovers those areas of pain and wounds in order to heal and in order to bring living water to those dry areas of our hearts.
Can we trust God to give us that love, that sense of fitting in, of belonging, of finding significance? Dare we ask Him for “whatever we wish” even if that thing doesn’t even have a word that goes with it? Hebrews 4 tells us to come “boldly” to the throne of grace. It’s not a throne of judgment or reproach, but of grace. Jesus could have judged the woman at the well and shaken His finger at her and told her to straighten up and get right with God. But instead He gently offered her living water. He knew He was the source of it. Sometimes God doesn’t immediately give us what we are asking for because He knows it will only strengthen our pride or take us away from Him. If we allow Him to provide for our needs and wants in His living-water way, then we will not be thirsting anymore because we’ll have the confidence that He will always supply our needs and wants and “whatever we wish.”
So whatever you are wishing for, get honest with God and tell Him all about it. Tell Him how disappointed you are that you don’t have it yet. Listen for His reply. Perhaps He will ask you what it is that you really want, something that is even deeper than the thing itself. Even if you can’t bring yourself to ask Him for that, tell Him about the struggle. He understands how vulnerable we are when it comes to love and belonging. He knows if you came from a broken family and never had the love He wanted you to have. He alone knows how to love you in the right way so you will experience it first-hand. He alone has the living water to give to you so you will never thirst again. Just receive His love for you and I’m sure the “whatever you wish” will be granted!