“The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, ‘Ask what you wish Me to give you’” (1 Kings 3:5).
Wouldn’t you love that dream? God appears to you to ask, “What do you want Me to do for you? Anything. Just name it.”
God wasn’t the only One to ask this question. Jesus asked it as well. Two different incidents. Same question.
“What do you want Me to do for You?”
The first involved two brothers. They’d come to Jesus with a demand. “We want You to do for us whatever we ask of You” (Mark 10:35).
The second involved two blind men. They’d come to Jesus with a despair. “Lord, have mercy on us” (Matthew 20:30).
“What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked both the same question. Both had a response.
The brothers responded with a desire outlining prestige, power and authority (Mark 10;37). They knew Jesus was the Son of God. And they were His close friends. They always had them nearby. The least He could do was grant them a spot in His upcoming Kingdom.
The blind men responded with a desire outlining urgency, recklessness and abandon (Matthew 20:33). They recognized Jesus as the Son of David. And they knew this as a sign for the Messiah (Matthew 22:42 – common Jewish belief). They had never had Him this close. This was their one and maybe only chance to ask for their greatest desire: their sight.
Jesus had taken the two brothers into His intimacy. He had explained that His future held mocking, spitting, scourging and dying (Mark 10:32-34). But it was just after this explanation that they disregarded His explanation and decided to ask instead for front row seats.
The two blind men were on the outside, maybe having never known intimacy, much less that of Jesus. But as the cast-offs of the day, they already knew mocking, spitting, and scourging. What did they have to lose?
The two brothers were denied their request. “It’s not mine to give,” Jesus told them, rather than pointing out their obvious trust in power and prestige.
But the two blind men received their sight. For their faith was in a Person, not in a position. A Who rather than a what. The Spiritual unseen rather than the physical well-being.
Which brings us to today. Jesus is still asking, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
What will be your request?
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).
In the inky darkness of 2:00 a.m., we awoke to the groaning of our twenty-five floor apartment building. An earthquake rocked us out of our beds on the seventh-floor. Feeling that our apartment was nearing ground level with every tremor, we jumped out of bed, grabbed our children, and escaped into the night.
For weeks after this 7.6 quake, we dreamed, ate and talked in aftershocks. There is nothing like having a solid foundation sway beneath your feet. Now, each time I read Psalm 11:3, I remember the night of September 11, 1999: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
I dare say that you too have experienced a shaking of your foundation. Maybe it has been the recent court ruling on marriage or a tremor in family, health, or finances. We have all known a trembling in areas we once thought solid. During these crises of life, just what can the righteous do?
As an earthquake survivor, I’ve discovered this answer depends entirely upon where I place my trust.
The night just before our big earthquake in Taiwan, I went to sleep without thought to the fault line so near me. But, my view of “rock solid” changed in the course of a brief 45-seconds. I couldn’t even trust the ground on which I stood.
In the same way, I’ve learned that my foundation cannot be my parents. I have lost both of them.
My foundation cannot be my health. I continue to be in chronic pain.
My foundation cannot be the government. They continue to prove their untrustworthiness.
No, “though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride…(Because) God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved” (Psalm 46:2-3, 5). I must base my trust in the fact that God lives within me.
My life is only as steady as my foundation. If my cornerstone is truly Christ, then I will discover that “he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed” (1 Peter 2:6). On the other hand, when I feel that He has let me down, then I can know I am relying upon other things around me to be my support. God shakes up the things in my life which can be shaken, so that the One which can’t be shaken can remain (Hebrews 12:27). He purposefully shakes loose the peripheral and brings down the unassailable fortifications so that I can simply cling to Him alone (Isaiah 25:12).
I recently spoke to a retired missionary friend about this very thing. With tears, Sandy testified, “I wouldn’t be desperate for Him if it weren’t for family trials. But because of them, I know Him in the very way that I have prayed for all of these years. It took a shaking for me to realize how undependable I am and how steady He is.”
What has been shaken up in your life lately? And how did you do? Are you still reeling from the aftershocks, or are you firmly established in the One Who cannot be shaken?
No matter where we are in the process, we can hold onto His compassionate promise that, “(Although) the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken” (Isaiah 54:10). Let’s prove our grip by going to His Word and Heart daily, shall we?