“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” —Mark 10:51 NIV
It seems strange that Jesus asked a blind man what he wanted, but it makes me wonder about the nature of God. We tend to think we should ask for only certain things from God. And I believe that’s true to an extent. I mean, I don’t think we should ask God for a Ferrari to drive the kids to soccer. Selfishness is real thing, but it’s not wrong to ask for blessings for ourselves.
Ask for What You Need
Jesus insisted the blind man put into words what he wanted. Jesus’ answer wasn’t, “Why, you selfish blind man, how dare you ask for something for yourself? Don’t you know there are so many who are worse off than you? You should ask for all the children in the world who are hungry to have food!” No, Jesus honored the man’s request.
So which is it? Ask for ourselves or only for others? It’s both. I struggled as a wife, and still do struggle a little, with the idea of selfishness and asking for what I need from God and from my family. And in some ways, the fact that I lived in Mozambique for a few years made it worse. Here’s what I mean: I experienced the truth that so many people have so much less than I do. It hit me in the face every day while in Mozambique. We helped when we could, but there was no way I could help everyone.
So who was I to ask God or my husband for anything? I kept quiet sometimes when I shouldn’t have, and I felt ashamed sometimes when I admitted I wanted or needed something. Finding that balance has long been a challenge, but now I believe God and my husband prefer me to ask for what I need, without shame.
Sometimes, Wait and Pray First
I’m learning after forty years of marriage, there’s a balance between putting the other first and asking for what you want or need. Jesus already knew what the the blind man wanted, yet he asked. Our spouses, on the other hand, don’t always know what we want, and they may not ask. Marriage relationships can be so difficult. Sometimes it seems what one person needs is in conflict with what the other needs or wants. Communication is key, but hasty, harsh words can fracture a relationship. Sometimes it’s wise to wait before broaching an emotional subject.
One time when my husband and I were going through a rough patch in our relationship, a marriage counselor gave me this advice (I’m paraphrasing):
“When you’re upset with your husband, wait a bit before confronting him. In a few hours, it may not feel like a big deal, and then you can let it go, and it’s over. If it still bothers you after a short time, pray about it, and see what insights you receive. You may see the other side of the issue. If after waiting and prayer, you are still upset, then you need to bring it to you husband’s attention, discuss it, and work it out between the two of you.”
This may sound restrictive and old-fashioned to the young reader, but for a conflict avoider like me, it was freeing. No doubt I have my issues, and I was raised in a world that taught me to submit to my husband; however, pausing before lashing out in anger and praying for wisdom before a confrontation still seem like good advice, so I’m passing it on. When in conflict, wait, pray, and then ask for what you need.
Do you find this helpful or too old-fashioned? I’d love to discuss it in the comments!
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