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“I wish I could say it as well as Anita does”

Here, quickly, is the background: I had asked the students to analytically report on the practice of viewing God as a means to our ends. Did their experience indicate that it happens? Should it happen? Can it be avoided? Should it be encouraged?

I had suggested that Jesus Himself was periodically (frequently??) perceived by those surrounding Him to be a means to peoples’ goals, ends, aspirations, dreams, plans, etc.. These people ranged from the twelve apostles to large crowds who were attracted to Jesus because of His miraculous curing of sicknesses. Some of those people thought they knew Jesus quite well.

So, the students worked on the project, submitted their responses, and I was happy to see their reports. What I read seemed to confirm what I suspected – that a strong (or the prevalent) view) is that our human neediness tends to lead us to view Jesus/God as our need satisfier. In fact some reported that “going to God to have Him solve our needs” is entirely appropriate.

I need to make clear that I recognize that this posture about God does take seriously our human frailties, deficiencies, and limitations. It also takes seriously the fact that God does provide for us, many times in miraculous ways. In fact, I think it would be Pollyannaish to pretend that we don’t “need” God. The fact is that we desperately need God.

In the context I have just described, one student’s paper jumped out at me as I read it. It is the response of a seasoned, a mature, a faithful child of the King. I wish I could say what she says, as well as she says it, and with the same “feel” it conveys. In her paper Anita included the following section:

Dr Caston, I used to struggle with the fact of all I ever heard from people was “woe is me” or “I need this or that.” It truly upset me because I related it to the way my Daddy and Momma would get when I would not thank them or give them hugs on occasion for what they did for me but also just because! 

Today I try to just talk to God daily like “besties” do.  Do I go a day or two without my “bestie talks”? Yes of course I do. I’m not perfect, and sometimes things happen.  I ask God daily for things in my life like a healing touch for a friend, comfort for someone who just lost a loved one, peace in my body to make it through another day. At the same time I like to just say “God I love you, I do not want or need or desire anything; I just wanted to love on you!! 

I know He will provide for my needs in ways that I can’t do, and He will on occasion give me my wants. But, there are those moments when He fulfills the desires of my heart not because I expected or begged Him to, but just because He loves me and wants to bless me with a gift. 

Being one of The King of King’s daughters I know He has stored up treasures in His secret places, but I do not assume I will get them. And, He has taught me I can expect to get something if I just trust in His timing and continue to live and do as I know I am suppose to.

And, so to Anita, and through her to her spiritual kinfolk, allow me to say, “You have captured very well the spirit of trusting the Lord’s love and grace for us.  I am glad to read that you have been able to escape the impact of negative examples that you have witnessed, and perhaps have even emotionally felt.  I am truly happy for you.  Your maturity shows through, and it is a maturity that appears to have left any kind of bragging far behind.  That is so good!!!

And to Anita, in particular, I want to say, “Just keep trusting that way, Anna. Never lose the sensitivity you have to the Spirit.”