Better Than a Genie in a Bottle
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to stumble across a magical lamp, give it a little rub, and out pops your personal genie who grants your wishes. Poof! Life is now perfect. Of course you have. (Thanks, Disney!) We all have things we’ve dreamed about and hoped for yet remain far out of reach. So what do we do with these longings?
Let’s take our minds out of the deserts of Aladdin and imagine a different scene for a moment. Once upon a time, there was a young ruler of a vast kingdom. Early in his reign, he received a special visitor after spending all day slaughtering a thousand bulls. (Sorry for that grisly detail.) This visitor was God Himself. God appeared to this king in a dream and offered him anything he wanted.
Pause. Can you imagine being promised anything you asked for? Anything?! What do you think the young man did? Ask for a beautiful palace arrayed in gold? Multiple servants to wait on him? The annihilation of his enemies? To be the longest-reigning monarch in history? A perfect princess to live with “happily ever after”?
What would you ask for?
- “God, make me rich so I never have to worry about anything again!”
- “Could you send me a husband, God? I just want a happy marriage and family.”
- “Life is miserable as long as so-and-so is around. I wish they’d move or something.”
- “Would you heal my body? I’m sick of being sick. I want to live a long life free from pain.”
All right, now back to the story. Before answering, the king considered what God had already done for him and then considered what he was lacking. After giving it a moment, he asked God for . . . are you ready for this? Wisdom. More specifically, a discerning heart in order to wisely govern the zillion subjects who lived in his kingdom.
The Wish We All Need Granted
By now you probably recognize this guy as King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. (Yep, it’s not a fairytale! Check out 1 Kings 3 for the full story.) Solomon asked for wisdom because he knew he didn’t have what it takes to navigate life, much less govern an entire kingdom. His request for discernment wasn’t just so he’d be the smartest guy alive. It was a humble recognition of his need for God.
The passage says that Solomon’s answer pleased the Lord, so not only did He grant his request for wisdom, He even gave him things he didn’t ask for—wealth, health, and sustained peace in the land.
Wow, what an incredible moment in history! Think about this for a minute: God sought out this particular man at a key time in his life and offered him the world. When hearing this story, it’s easy to think, Man, was he lucky! God just shows up and gives him whatever he wants. I wish He would do that for me!
But hasn’t He?
Allow me to tell just one more story. This one took place around 2,000 years ago, and God shows up once again, but this time not in a dream. He sends His Son in human flesh, not to offer the world to one man, but to offer heaven to all who would believe. And this time the gift came at the cost of His Son’s life, which Jesus laid down willingly.
Aren’t we thankful this is also a true story? But wait, it doesn’t end there! Jesus didn’t stay dead; God raised Him to life! Not only does God offer eternal life through the death of His Son, but through the resurrection He supplies believers with everything they need for this life (2 Peter 1:3).
You Already Have It All
In fact, according to the book of Ephesians, every spiritual blessing belongs to those who are in Christ Jesus ( Eph. 1:3). What are these blessings, you ask? Well . . .
Unhindered fellowship with God.
Adoption as sons (and daughters!).
Just to name a few. This list is just what is mentioned in the first twelve verses of Ephesians 1! The Bible is full of promises that are yours in Christ Jesus. That’s better than anything a genie could offer you, isn’t it?
Now just as a little side note here, I want to be clear that God doesn’t exist to grant our every whim or desire. Nor does He promise us a painless, carefree life. We don’t go to Him hoping He’ll give us the map to some treasure. He is the treasure!
But the question we must ask ourselves is, is He your treasure?
Do you have the peace, forgiveness, and hope that come from loving and knowing Christ? Or are you frantically rubbing your “lamp,” waiting for a genie that doesn’t exist to appear? In other words, are you looking to the world to satisfy that empty, gnawing feeling inside of you, or will you run to Jesus?
In John 6:37, Jesus gives us this promise: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” I pray that, like King Solomon who recognized his great need for God, you will look to Jesus to satisfy your longings. He is the answer, and He will not turn you away if you believe in Him.
By Leanna Shepard
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