We ventured out in the early gray morning and drove downtown to Hi Hat. It is one of our favorite coffee shops. It is in a tiny little brick house that looks hundreds of years old. Its so small there’s barely room to get inside, stand in line and place an order. Maybe six people can fit in there. Usually you have to wait outside for your drink to be ready. But we love it. The girls who run it are so genuine and their coffee is some of the best. You have to sit outside. They have a patio out front and on the side of the building. There are benches and chairs and picnic tables and mismatched patio furniture. Its unique, and it has character. I think that’s what we look for mostly when trying to find a coffee shop to call home. Character. Hi Hat has it. It is nestled in one of the richest areas of Kansas City. Sort of on the outskirts. A few blocks away are some of the largest most impressive houses you have ever seen, but the surrounding houses are tiny cottage-like homes that although small, must cost a fortune. It’s almost like a fairy tale land.
Today is cool. We bundle up in sweaters and scarves and fall attire and enjoy the crisp morning air with our hot coffee. It is so refreshing. We will be sad when winter comes and it is no longer warm enough to sit out on the patio and enjoy the atmosphere. A large group of older men sit at a large table, drinking their coffee, reading the paper, chatting, talking to and about everyone who shows up. They know all the regulars and a little girl comes in with her dad and runs over to the old man group and jumps up on one of their laps. She doesn’t have school today and is so excited. You can tell they are all adopted grandpas.
Having a dog is a status symbol here. People walk here with their proud dogs. They love for them to be noticed. They all have impressive big important dog names; they are all purebreds and they are all so well-behaved. They lounge around on the patio bricks and act like they don’t care when other people notice them. Liz really wants a dog. It would sit proudly beside us at our table and he would have a big impressive name like Eustace, or Earl, or…
There’s no internet at Hi Hat Café. So that gives me no distraction. No pinterest or facebook or job searches. Just me. My books and my thoughts.
We’re doing a study on the book of James. And today something really stood out to me. It’s not something new. It’s not something I haven’t learned before. Maybe it was just something that I needed to hear today. Something that I needed to realize or put into practice or re-learn. Verses 5-8 of chapter 1 is the focus of the study today. Well actually, I am behind, so it’s the focus of like Thursday last week, but whatever, it was my focus today.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double minded man unstable in all he does. (James 1:5-8)
Well the author of the study asked why we have to ask. God always knows what we need. So why do we have to ask. And her answer was the same as my first thought, well God wants a relationship with us and he wants us to communicate to Him our needs and ask Him for things. But I paused there. My mind continued to wander. Sure, God wants us to ask, He wants it to be a two-way street, He wants our communication. But what is deeper than that? If God always gave us what we needed without us asking for it, we would never know that it was coming from Him. We would never be on our knees pouring out to Him and begging him to provide. We would never recognize His provision, our trust in Him would never grow. We would never need Him. Or we wouldn’t know that we needed Him. We wouldn’t know that it was Him giving to us if we weren’t asking. So would we slowly trust Him less? We would think our lives were pretty good. We always had what we needed and we never asked anyone for it so we were pretty lucky. God? He’s just a far off dude. I’m not really sure what He does. I’m pretty good without Him actually.
I can’t see God working like that! But when we ask Him for things and trust and pour out our hearts and beg to not be left alone in the dark, but for Him to come be beside us and provide for our needs, He GIVES. Not always in the way that we want or expect, but He never fails us. And when we ask and He gives, we are amazed, and our trust grows, our relationship with Him grows. And maybe at first we only ask for small things, but He is faithful and small things grow into bigger things and the relationship grows and THAT is right where God wants us to be. That is why I think God wants us to ask.
I don’t think I really ever ask. I discussed it with Liz this morning over coffee. I don’t. Not usually. Unless its something big that I can’t figure out myself. Or if its something for someone else that I can’t fix. I like to fix things. I like to figure the problem out. I like to solve it. Fix it. I don’t ask God.
I gave the example of my financial situation this week. The computers at Starbucks were broken last week so the manager was unable to process payroll. Therefore no one got paid. I had budgeted in a way that my paycheck would be enough to cover my rent and car payment which are both due this week. But the paycheck didn’t come. No one else at Starbucks seemed to think this was a big deal. We’ll just all get paid next week for 2 weeks worth of work. But to me, who was depending on that paycheck to pay my bills, it was a HUGE deal! Now my rent and car payment will be late. I don’t pay my bills late. I’m a first-born child. I’m responsible. To me this is a tragedy! And I know for certain that if I asked my dad, he would somehow find some money and put it into my account so I can pay my bills on time. I know that for a fact. But I realized today that I never even THOUGHT to ask God for help. I didn’t even talk to Him about the situation. I didn’t ask for money or an extension on my payments or for wisdom in the situation. I didn’t ask. And how much more does God love me and want to provide for me than my dad does?
I know my dad would do anything for me. But shouldn’t I have that same trust and belief about my all-powerful Heavenly Father? He probably wouldn’t have sent me a check in the mail or deposited money into my account, but I’m sure He would have provided me with some wisdom in the situation. Or given me grace to handle it. Or helped me lose some pride and be ok with paying some things late. I never asked. So I’ll never know.
I think we would be amazed at the things that would start happening in our lives if we started depending on God more. Started asking Him for more. Maybe we wouldn’t become independently wealthy, or have all the things that we want, but we would always have all the things that we NEED. We would have the relationship with Him that He wants. And I know that is a place that I want to be living. I know it will take a lifetime to learn this. I might forget it by next month and need to be reminded again. But for right now, I’m going to start asking. And I’m going to start believing that He who gives generously to all without finding fault, will be right there answering me.