That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” (2 Chronicles 1:7)
Relate: A couple decades back a man was walking along a California just minding his own business and enjoying the beautiful day. As he was walking he spotted what looked like a gold half buried by the sand. He walked over to check it out and found that it was actually an old-fashioned oil lamp. Although it was quite dirty, the lamp did not seem to be damaged in any way and the young man started to clean it off to see if it might be worth anything.
You know this age-old story. As he rubbed the lamp a mist started to come out of it. This huge genie took shape. It yawned, stretched, and looked down at the young man and said, “Thank you for freeing me from my eternal prison and all that stuff. Because you have set me free, I will now grant you one wish.”
“One wish?” The man asked. “I thought you were supposed to grant me three wishes.”
“Kid, get with the times,” the genie said. “We genies unionized a few centuries back and now we are only required to grant one.”
The young man thought about this for a moment. If he could only get one wish then he needed to make sure it was a good one. There was no second chance to get it right. He looked out across the ocean and the idea came to him.
“I have always wanted to visit Hawaii but I get terribly seasick and the very idea of stepping into a plane scares me to death. I am sure I am not the only one. Genie, I wish you would build a bridge from California to Hawaii.”
The Genie’s eyes bulged out and then he let out a deep hearty laugh that shook the clouds and stopped the waves.
“Kid, do you have any idea what you have just asked for? Is this bridge supposed to have support pillars stretching to the bottom of the ocean’s floor? Can you imagine the damage that will do to the ocean’s ecosystems? There’s some pretty big storm out on the ocean quite consistently. How many cars a week do you think will end up getting swept out to sea? Do you know how long it would take for people to drive that distance? I suppose I would have to put some rest stops every couple hundred miles too. But who will work them? I’m sorry, kid, but on too many levels that is just an impossible request. For your own sake, I will let ask for something else instead.”
The young man was disappointed for a moment but he supposed it made sense. Some things are just not meant to be. The young man sat down in the sand deep in thought for a long time. Finally, he said, “I have been married now for about six months. I absolutely love and adore my wife, but I don’t understand her at all. It seems every day that I am with her, I understand less and less. Genie, help me to be able to understand women.”
The Genie looked down at the man. Then he leaned back and rubbed his chin as though he were deep in thought. Finally, he said, “About that bridge, would you like it to have two lanes or four?”
React: If I were granted one wish, what would I choose? What would you choose? Unlike the fictional story above, Solomon really was presented with that option. “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you?”
If I were to go to God in prayer knowing that He would give me what I have asked for, how much more bold would I be in my prayers? How many promises have I read in scripture over and over again that I have been afraid to lay claim to? How often have I thought in my heart, “They might be for other people, but surely God wouldn’t do that for me?” Are our prayers too small because we are afraid our God is not big enough to answer them? Or are our prayers too small because we are afraid of what He might require of us to see them through?
Give me the courage to ask bigger. Give me the strength to believe bigger. Then give me the discipline to live it out. I know You are a big God. I know Your word is truth. But all too often I live as though it does not apply to me. Whatever the reason behind this, God forgive me. I have lived a small enough life for far too long. You have called me higher, help me to step up to it.