“Sir, this isn’t what I ordered. Please take it back.”
How many times have you uttered these words at a restaurant? I actually never have because I have this weird hang-up about sending something back to the kitchen. I’ll pretty much eat whatever is brought to me in whatever condition it is brought. Unless it involves kale.
But that’s not how I pray. I often ask God to take it back.
God, I know asked for increased faith, but this thing You have given me to actually increase it? Not awesome. Please take it back.
God, I wanted the problem fixed. I didn’t want to learn and grow through the problem. Please take it back.
God, I wanted to feel better and be happy, not learn that there’s something deeper and more lasting when I cling to You than feeling nice. Please take it back.
This is not what I ordered. As if God is a waiter serving up made-to-order dishes from a cosmic kitchen. I am so presumptuous.
God is not the waiter; He is the Chef. What is more, He is the Chef who knows precisely what meal will satisfy if we simply trust Him. He hears our wishes, recognizes our desires, but knows what is best for us. We order something, but He gives us something better.
Yet we continually try to send it back. We refuse to recognize that the Chef is the expert, the perfect omniscient expert who never gives us anything but what we need. This is hard to accept because often what we are served is not to our liking – it is bitter, tough, or dry. Yet it is what we need. Sometimes the portion seems too small and sometimes it seems too much for one person. Yet it is what we need.
This is no “You’ll eat what is served and you’ll like it!” scenario. At any time we can leave the Chef’s table in search of food we like more. We can go make our own meals – as if we could prepare something better. We can buy something elsewhere – as if another chef is better. We can grab the first thing we find for a quick bite – only to be reminded later the price we pay for convenience.
What we learn over time is not only that the Chef’s table is the best place to dine, but also how to order. No longer do we try to send it back when we get something not to our liking. Sometimes we even order exactly the right thing. Most of the time, though, we learn to say, “Whatever the Chef thinks is best.” He delivers and we eat, maybe not always with relish but always to our health and satisfaction.