I remember using the word, “whatever”, in the midst of an argument with my brother. We youngsters at that time, had this motion with our fingers to add emphasis to our “whatever” arguments. The motions stood for “capitalized, italicized, and underlined” which we used to prove our point.
Lately, I’m turning “whatever” into a prayer rather than use as evidence to prove a point. My “whatever” expresses an openness to whatever God wants to send my way. Whatever gift, wrapped in whatever package.
Not that I still don’t list out my requests. No, I think our Heavenly Father encourages us to be honest about our desires, but to ask with humility, understanding that what we think we want or need might not align with His will, because our ways are not His ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts. Sometimes our desires align more with our flesh or sinful nature than it does God’s will.
We have a choice in our stance.
As I posted earlier here, we can stand with our fists clenched, demanding our way or we can stand palms up, open to receive whatever God wants to give. A quote I read from C.S. Lewis more eloquently states, “St. Augustine says, ‘God only gives where He finds empty hands.’ A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift.” I will add to that quote by saying a man whose fingers are clenched shut is full of himself and can’t receive from God.
Isn’t that what we are when we demand our own way? Full of ourselves.
We live in a society where we are all demanding our rights. We must be careful of this sort of stance before God. Standing in demand puts us in a position saying God owes us something when the truth is He doesn’t owe us anything. He is not the debtor. We are.
We stand in need of emptying our hands.
I stand in need.
Frustration clenches my fists when what I want does not happen. Then I sulk for days until I unclench my fists and surrender myself to vulnerability, revealing my empty palms.
Yes, I went through this recently. Just call me Miss Stubborn Pants.
My Father waited patiently for me to relent. Once I did, He overcame me with peace and assurance that what He wants to give me is all good. And then a funny thing happened after I let go of my own way. Joy poured into my hands like water from a water pump. I cupped my hands and drew the water to my lips to drink in the refreshing goodness of God.
“Then Jesus called the crowd to him, along with his followers. He said, ‘If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to even give up their lives to follow me.” Mark 8:35
KJV uses the words, “deny himself”. The Amplified Version expounds the phrase to “forget, ignore, disown, lose sight of himself and his own self interests”.
Remember the rich young ruler? You can find him a few chapters ahead in Mark 10:21-22. Why would a rich young man walk away from Jesus sad? Because he didn’t want to empty his hands.
Let’s let go of our rights to our own self-interests. Lose sight of ourselves. Let’s live with our hands empty so we may receive whatever.
“Lord, whatever you want to give me, I stand with my hands empty, ready to receive. Whatever, Lord. Whatever.”