I know what begging is. I have heard it often enough from my flock. "Please, Mom? Please, can I...please? Mom, will you....please? Pretty please?"
It is a song often repeated, and becomes more insistent with time and my own lack of response, or indecision. It is as if my children want to prove that I can or I will, hear and fulfill their every whim. They are reluctant to stop their pursuit of the request until I cave like some sinkhole into the ground. Or, my "No!", becomes adamant enough and I have become a brick wall hindering them from further progress.
My flock is a lot like me.
I often find myself beseeching God. I plead and implore, try "praying harder", clamoring for action, attention, urging Him to just show up as if this life was a three-act play and I want Him to witness my performance, award my endeavors. I boldly approach God like some scruffy panhandler standing on the street corner, relegating Him to doling out nickels and dimes, while I am always hoping for the big score, the major haul.
I may be pursuing trivial things or ones that will be life-changing. I can entreat God for a short line at the checkout because "I have to get out of here to pick up so-and-so. " There are other moments, hours, when I am face down upon the floor imploring Him to transform this one's heart, softening it, or to rid that one of wayward cells.
God's word is clear that seeking Him is very appropriate. "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving making your requests known to God." (Philippians 4:6) That word, supplication, means to beg. It is praying earnestly for what we want or need.
Jesus Himself told a story about the persistent widow whose request is fulfilled simply because she kept asking. (Luke 18:1-5). We should always pray and not give up.
Nope, the begging isn't the issue.
The problem is my attitude, the manner in which I ask. How often do I petition God as if I am relegated to scrounging for scraps or that I am required to live as a mendicant, always clamoring for more? When I am petitioning the King of Kings, the Creator of heaven and earth, the One who picks up the whole earth as if it were a grain of sand, do I view Him as such? My Bible says "To whom can you compare God?" (Isaiah 40:15,18 NLT). Do I believe that?
I have been wretched with anxiety, with fear, full of doubt that God will be who He says He is or that He really will fulfill His promises. I have become the doubting vagabond instead of the child who has been promised to be tenderly cared for by her Father, who never changes, never fails. It is both a wrong picture of God and a wrong picture of myself that I have carried in my hip pocket. That image is faded and worn, yet I have insisted upon carrying it like some treasured photograph, thinking if I wave it around enough, clamor some more, that this time He will hear me, this time He will come.
For me it has made the difference between always wondering if... and simply assuming He is, He will. My prayers are changing from pleading with God to somehow help my daughter, to thanking Him that He will, that He has. It has been an assumption that He is the Sovereign Lord, greater and bigger than anything I could imagine and thus worthy of my trust. It has been a stepping over the cliff, believing the rope will hold.
Mind you, this is brand new territory here, one that I am just beginning to explore. (This roof ain't nailed down good and tight!) But I am working on it, by God's grace. And I am finding that each time I step out to say "Please, Lord!", I am also giving thanks, knowing that just like a father, He hears and answers.