The Ideal Situation
By Janelle Spiers
Ideal: satisfying one's conception of what is perfect; most suitable
Why is it that we only ever ask God for the ideal situation? We ask him for financial blessings, healthy families, and peaceful worlds. We ask for good things...but yet, that is not how God often works.
Yes, it escapes our notice, but God does not use ideal situations in every day life. Consider the Israelites, the chosen people of God, who were attacked, raided, captured, killed, persecuted, and shunned so many, many times. Slaves in Egypt, Captives in Babylon, these people whom God chose as His own, were unaccustomed to the ideal situation.
However, there were ideals. The Garden of Eden, paradise for mankind’s forefather. King Solomon of Israel, the wisest man to live and walk the earth.
But even in those ideal situations, where wise men ruled, and peace and happiness reigned, something happened to the hearts of those who had what they wanted. Without a care, or a worry, and full of confidence, those people began to rely on themselves, and not on the Ideal Giver. Adam and Eve sinned against their Father, looking for something even more ideal. Solomon disobeyed his Father by adding wives to his harem, trying to appease the ideal lust.
So, in those ideal situations, the hearts were far from ideal...
Even in the far from ideal situations, something was different. Slaves in Egypt, whipped and slaughtered by their tyrant rulers, clung to hope and waited for deliverance. And then, up from Midian, rose the shepherd to God’s people, Moses who led the way, who redeemed the people, who answered the prayers of the slaves.
So when we ask for the ideal situation, and get it, we no longer depend so greatly on the one who gave us that blessing. And in the not-so ideal situation, we beg and complain, desperate for something better. Where is the in between? Where is the medium? Are we destined to be stuck in between terribly sinful or miserably ungrateful?
Perhaps there is an in between. Maybe what we need from God is not the ideal situation, but the ideal attitude. Maybe what we need is to be like Daniel, the captive in Babylon, who praised and thanked God for his situation three times a day. A far from ideal situation, with an ideal attitude.
Maybe instead of asking God for the ideal situation, we need to ask him for the right attitude, to help us through times of financial drought, through sickness and danger for the ones we love, and hate-filled, war-torn lands. Can we be like Daniel? Can we be grateful for the place we are in, the place where God has put us in? Can we choose not to doubt and complain, worry and fear, but be filled with the peace of God? Can we let Him work in our hearts, are we willing to ask him?
In the less than ideal circumstances, in the heartbreak and loss, in the suffering and sadness, if we choose to give thanks, and bless those around us, and cling to God in thankfulness, then that circumstance can become more ideal. The more our heart is thankful for the far from ideal, we can open our eyes to see that “ideals” are merely how we choose to see the world.