Yesterday, as I was listening to the sermon of my pastor, Jesse Richardson, my attention was strangely arrested when he quoted Timothy Keller. The quote was this, “God will only give you what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows.” Because Pastor Jesse understood the potential impact of that statement, he repeated it. And, like a cockle burr stuck to my socks, the quote stuck to my heart. On my morning prayer walk today, I found myself continuing to ruminate on Keller’s quote.
I have at times, lamented the fact that God did not answer my prayer in the way that I expected Him to answer it? Only to realize, later, that His answer was the perfect answer, the answer that I truly needed. Those times remind me of the Garth Brooks song titled Thank God for Unanswered Prayers.
Does God truly know what’s best for me? Is it safe to pray “Thy will be done”, and leave it there? As I continued to ponder Keller’s quote, I began to recount the ways that God has shown me His intimate designs for my life. Here’s what came to mind.
Ephesians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly placed in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.”
Psalm 139:13 & 16, “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”
Acts 17:24-26, ”The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is the Lord of heaven and earth…made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.”
Those three passages tell us that as Children of God in Christ, we were chosen before the cosmos was created. Then, according to that pre-creation plan, we were conceived in the womb of our mother, with God, in His sovereignty, determining the number the days of our sojourn on earth before we ever saw the light of day. He also determined what our race would be as well as places we would live.
With this knowledge in mind, Keller’s quote comes alive with a power that ought to greatly strengthen our faith. Our God is a God of details who says to His people through the Prophet Jeremiah, “I know that plans I have for you.” And it goes on to say that His plans are to give us a future filled with hope.
With all that said, I now pray, “Please, dear Lord, continue to give me what I would have asked for if I knew everything that You know.”