October 10, 2013

Spirit & Mind – Orange Prayers and Italian Ice

“’Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” (I Corinthians 2:9 / NKJV).

We were out of Italian ice.

For those who are unfamiliar with this delicious frozen treat, it is similar to a Popsicle, yet without the stick and added sugar. Due to my family’s recent commitment to a healthier diet and lifestyle, my kids and I started replacing the usual “salty snacks” with more fruit and vegetables – and an occasional Italian ice instead of ice cream.

After my weekly trip to the store, I was putting the groceries in the refrigerator and pantry when my daughter hollered from the living room, “Dad, would you please bring me an orange?” Now, I love her dearly and know she would much rather have an Italian ice instead of an orange. So, I delayed my response to her request.

As I continued putting the groceries away, she bombarded me with her unrelenting requests – the volume of each demand rising to match her growing impatience. I finally asked her, “Are you sure you want an orange?” When she confirmed her definite choice, I grabbed an orange for her and an Italian ice for me and walked into the living room. Upon seeing what was in my hands, she immediately reversed her choice and, grinning from ear to ear, said she would rather have an Italian ice. To which I replied, “Well maybe you should let your loving dad surprise you with something better than your initial request.”

At that moment, God spoke to my heart. “Isn’t that just the way it is with you when you have your prayer time with Me? You are so adamant about what, when, and how you want your prayers answered. Have you ever considered I just might have something much better that I would love to give you? Maybe, instead of impatiently and repeatedly asking for what you think you want, a better alternative is to make your general request known to Me – then allow Me to lovingly and sovereignly surprise you by exceeding your expectations.”

As her father, it was pure joy to surprise my daughter with what I knew she would rather have instead of her initial request. As our Heavenly Father, God delights in exceeding the needs of His children – but we must patiently wait for Him (Psalm 37:7) and leave the ultimate choice in His hands. After all, He does know what’s best.

“God, please grant all my orange prayers with Your Italian ice answers!”

As a “missionary kid” who grew up in a Christian home and church, Nate Stevens has enjoyed a 30-year banking career in a variety of leadership roles. Recently, God made it clear he should use his writing talents for God’s kingdom. He writes online devotionals for his home church (Calvary Church in Charlotte, NC) and articles for several other publications. Information about his book, Matched 4 Marriage – Meant 4 Life is available at www.natestevens.net. God is opening doors for speaking engagements at conferences, seminars, and Bible study groups for singles, young adults, young marrieds, and youth. Nate currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, and is an active dad with his two awesome kids, Melissa and Mitchell.

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