Growing up, my sister and I loved to watch the movie National Velvet. It’s an old movie (based on an even older novel) starring a very young Elizabeth Taylor as the main character, Velvet. Without giving too much away, Velvet, an avid horse lover, falls in love with a horse she names The Pie. Coincidently (as plotlines often go), The Pie is to be raffled off, and Velvet is determined to win him. She can see no future where he is not hers. In yet another stroke of “luck” for young Velvet, her father is the one chosen to draw the winning raffle ticket, and a conversation regarding this happenstance ensues between Velvet and Mr. Hallam (one of the townsfolk):
Mr. Hallam: “So you’re to win the gelding are you Velvet?
Velvet: “Oh, of course I’m to win.”
Mr. Hallam: “There are ways of arranging it, aren’t there? And your father’s a clever man . . . “
Velvet: “Oh, I didn’t bother him, Mr. Hallam. I just arranged it with God.”
I won’t spoil the rest of the movie for you (it is certainly worth a watch if you haven’t seen it), but that last line in this conversation has always struck a chord with me. Not because God is a wish granting genie or here just to answer to our every whim, but because I wonder how often it is we try to arrange things for our benefit . . . how often do we try to manipulate and curry favor with men long before we seek God?
That’s not to say that God is going to give us every single thing for which we petition Him. He’s not. And that’s not to say we are to be lazy and not put forth effort. But the Bible also says in Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” And Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
There is so much wisdom in going first to God. Not only to let Him know what it is we want, but to allow Him to bring our hearts into alignment with His. God wants us to give us good gifts, but He, ultimately, is the one that knows what is and is not best for us. He knows exactly what good gifts we need, and He knows when the things we may see as gifts will only bring us heartache in the long run. So the next time you’re trying to work or manipulate a situation to your advantage, stop and take the time to lay your desires at the feet of your Heavenly Father. You’ll find that it brings far more peace and far less effort to arrange it with God rather than man.
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