Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew 7:9)
Question: When is getting a stone better than getting bread? Answer: When it is our Savior who is giving us the stone! Why? Because it is our gracious and loving Savior who knows exactly what we need . . . and when we need it.
Looking back over my life, I cannot count the times when I was asking God for what I thought was tasty, nourishing “bread,” and instead He gave me what I thought was a “stone.” But each time I eventually realized that what I was asking for was really a lifeless, non-nourishing stone and what God gave me was really life-giving bread!
Every parent knows this truth as it relates to our children. Our kids ask for stuff that they believe is wonderful, delicious “bread” that they can’t live without, when in reality they were begging us for something with no more value than a rock. Even worse, our children often ask us for things that unwise or unhealthy, like asking for a candy bar 15 minutes before dinnertime! And when we said something like, “Let me give you something that is actually good for you,” their faces were downcast, as if we’d just handed them a dirty old stone. To be sure, parents know better than the child what the child needs, just as God knows better than us what His children need.
Often it comes down to our level of spiritual maturity. The less mature we are, the more often we ask for things that are truly not in our best interest. Oh, we think we need it and we plead our case before heaven’s throne. But, more often than not, we are asking for something we want, not something we need; and if we were to get that thing we were begging God for, we would remain in our spiritual infancy, sipping on milk rather than eating solid food.
God’s greatest goal for each one of us is to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). The “stones” of life that God delivers both shape and sharpen us to grow and mature in our faith. These stones may not deliver us into our perception of “the good life,” but they will certainly pave the way that leads to living the godly life . . . and that is the only life worth living.
So when was the last time God gave you a stone rather than bread? Has enough time passed that you can see His reason for doing so? The only way to understand the stones of this life is to see life from God’s perspective and thus live in the light of eternity. The key that unlocks the door to understanding this truth is seeing our God as a loving Father who knows what is best for us and will never stop short of seeing to it that we get what we need . . . which is frequently not what we want!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!