By Ron Radcliffe
I recently found a Christmas wish list I made when I was younger. Each item was rated with a number of stars, one to five, depending on how badly I wanted it. The number one thing on the list was a new puppy.
This sort of wish list can seem foolish and childish, especially since our wants differ from our needs as we grow up. Yet Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given you” (Matthew 7:7). What is it that will be given to us? Some pretty radical things, actually, according to the psalmist: everything from food to justice, freedom, sight, and the love and care of God himself.
It can feel odd asking for these and other things, especially if we aren’t kids anymore. But asking for what we need is actually a way of saying to God, “I can’t do this on my own. I need your help.” It puts us back in our rightful place when we say, “God, I need your help. You are God, and I am not.” This is an act of worship to God, the only one who deserves our worship and provides everything for us, even our basic needs like food. And this move of asking God for things, big or little, also reminds us to thank God for provision—for it is God who provides. He is the one who provides food to people who are hungry, freedom to people who are oppressed, and sight to people who are blind.
What are you lacking in this season? Are you tired? Ask the Lord for strength. Are you hungry? Ask him for food. Are you unclear about what path to take next? Ask the Lord for direction. There is nothing too big or too small for God. He is the God of the universe and the God of Jacob. The God of the big and the small. Take time to bring all your cares to God today. For, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).
Prayer: God, you did not withhold even your most precious relationship from us, sending your only Son in the fullness of time to meet our most pressing need. Help us trust your love enough to ask for all our remaining needs, big and small.
Ron Radcliffe is working with Luminex Collaborative to plant a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife Anna. The 2016 Advent devotions were written by RCA church planters and parent churches.