"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil. 4:6-NIV)I have read this passage so many times in my walk with the Lord. I have heard teachings on it countless times over the years. Today, for the first time, I think I really understand it...thanks to my two-year-old son.
It seems, at first glance, very straight forward. I have always taken this verse to mean that we need to remember to thank God for all He has done (that goes without saying), or I have heard teachings about thanking God for what we are asking him for IN ADVANCE to build our faith. Each of those scenarios are fine and, I believe, accurate. However, I re-read this passage today after an encounter in the car with my SWEET baby, Zeke on the way home from church. It went a little something like this:
I had just unwrapped a BEAUTIFUL Hershey bar to nibble on during the drive home. Sugar tends to make me nauseous in large quantities, so I was just sucking on a square here and there. Zeke had a perfect view of me from his car seat so, of course, it wasn't long before I was being petitioned for a bit of my "neenee," as it were (Zeke-speak for CANDY). I could spare a square, so I handed it back to him and he squealed with delight. Under normal circumstances, if Zeke wants more of something, he just screams and yells until either we fold and he gets his way, or until he runs out of steam and gives up. Either way, it is never a quiet or pleasant experience....and during these events, it is NEVER compassion that moves me to oblige his demands. BUT, today Zeke put on his sweetest face and started saying to me in an emphatic and hopeful tone (while holding out his chubby little hand expectantly for more chocolate goodness),
"Day-tu, Mommy, mo chokit!!!! Day-tu!! Oh SO yummy!! Day-tu mo chokit!"(Translation: Thank you, Mommy, for more chocolate! Thank you!!...). In case you don't understand the visual, let me provide you with some insight:
I was SO delighted with him and his genuine gratitude BEFORE he even received what he wanted, that there was NO WAY I was going to withhold more chocolate from him. He wasn't kicking and screaming for his way, he wasn't crying or panicking, he wasn't the LEAST bit apathetic in his approach. Just expectant and JOYFUL because he could SEE that what he desired was in my hand. He had NO DOUBT that I was going to give it to him. My heart was moved because he is MINE; his approach was impeccable!
I know this is probably an elementary example, but I am a very visual learner and I LOVE that the Lord never lets a teachable moment pass by. This year we have been working so hard to get out of debt. I don't know how many other ways to beg the Lord for what we need/want. I've tried the kicking and screaming, the crying, the apathetic "thanks in advance," even though I didn't think anything was going to happen. Now, I want to look into the Word and remind myself of all the things that I can SEE is in God's hand for me and then put on my most genuine look of love and, unashamedly, with my hand out, appeal to His heart that delights in me just because I am His. And THANK HIM, genuinely, because I KNOW he loves me enough to provide all that we need...and He WILL. I just know it.