What’s the point of all this? That we should head out to the mall and walk around, pointing out to God, “I want this, and that, and that–and gimme one of those, and…” No, of course not.
However, when my husband read that last paragraph, he grinned and said, “Maybe we ought to try it.”
“Well,” I replied weakly, “it might work… ”
I thought how George Muller might have stood in a mall, if they’d existed in his time, and pointed out to God things he needed for the orphanage.
I also thought of a woman we knew in New Jersey, who often loaded up two or three grocery carts (pushed by a couple of her kids) and took them to the supermarket checkout line without the money to pay for their contents, expecting God somehow to supply it by the time she had to pay. And He always did! But then, she was buying the stuff for the houseful of (at least twenty-some) “unadoptable” kids back home that she and her husband had adopted (in addition to their own seven natural children) because they believed God had called them to do it.
Then my mind wandered off in the direction of wrong attitude, the gimme-gimme one. And I murmured, “I suppose you could ask [self-indulgently] and God would give you all that stuff. But what you’d end up with would be…a pile of stuff.”
The children of Israel did that in Numbers 11:4-6. They got sick of manna and whined and complained for gourmet food, and they got what they asked for–piles of it (Num 11:31-32).
You go find a restaurant that serves quail, and you’re in Gourmet Land. However, the rest of the story is… they got deathly ill on the gift they gobbled (Num 11:33)–and so can we if we ask with wrong motives.
We’d better be careful about praying for whims. Not because God will disappoint us, but because too much whim stuff or self-indulgence can make us deathly ill — spiritually, even physically. There’s no richer gift than getting to see God more clearly and know Him more intimately and trust in His love and wisdom more fully–and too much earthly blessing can hugely hinder all that. It’s the spiritual plague of America! (Ask any Chinese underground-church pastor!)
Consider why God would be especially pleased with granting Muller’s requests: Muller sought first and foremost the kingdom of God. The reason he had nothing to start with was that he and his wife had already given away everything they owned, radically assenting to Mark 10:21 as a way of life. He really trusted in God to supply!