If I pray for a diet soda, does God give me rain??

Let’s think about this. First of all, I look in the fridge, in the back of the car, between the cushions of the couch, in all the cabinets, in the shed, underneath the porch, in the attic—even in the oven. But I can’t find my soda.

I’m thirsty. Man am I thirsty. It’s been a long hot day. My throat is parched. I’m a little dizzy. I have a “thirst” headache. My eyes are crossed. And I can’t spell. I need a diet soda.

Problem is, diet soda isn’t exactly the healthiest choice when a throat is parched, and the body is deprived of nutrients. It doesn’t quite purge the toxins the way I’d hope it would. In fact, in some minds, diet soda is poison.

But I don’t care. I need it. I’ve invested so much of my energy drinking diet soda that the CEO wants to make me Chief of Daily Consumptions. I told him no, because I would be too busy managing how other people drink their soda when all I want is to have time to drink mine. So you see, it’s a problem.

It gets worse. I find myself in the basement. In the cellar below the basement. Digging through old jars, web-smothered, looking among old newspaper and canned food swollen and unhealthy, digging in the darkness through the junk to find my soda. It’s a mess. I’m smothered in what is cold and smelly. I can’t find it. God knows where it is, but He’s not giving it to me. And the harder I look, the deeper and deeper in muck I get. And that’s when I realize that I’m finally here, at the end of my rope. I have nowhere to go. Except up.

So I let go. I let go of all the trash to which I’m clinging. I let go of the empty bottles. The broken jars. The yellowed newspaper. I simply let go.

And in that moment I experience a miracle. I literally lighten. The trash in my hands are no longer in my hands, and I’m free. Free to let go and move on and move up. So I move up, out of the cellar and out of the basement and up into the light.

I move up into the warm summer light. I sit down in a warm lawn chair. I’m no longer mad at God because He wouldn’t give me my soda; rather, I’m thankful that He’s given me just the blessed summer day, just Him and His gorgeous light, and all the beauty of the earth within, given by Him to me, to us all, to enjoy.

Enough with the torn up cushions. Moving the furniture an umpteenth time. Upending the beds. Throwing all the cabinet juice into the center of the kitchen floor. It’s done. It’s pleasantly over. This is natural breathing. This is where it’s at.

The wind stirring the cottonwoods, lifting up the leaves, turning them in the light. The never ending lawn that never ends. The sycamores. And the cotton sky. This is warmth and water and light. It is here, only here, wide and broken open, that I taste the basket of the clouds. I’m here, letting go. I’m free. And I’m in for something. Low and behold in the marled tenor of the horizon, I smell rain. I had asked God for a diet soda. But He knew me more. He has the better and the best locked up in His heart. It’s for me. His plan for this day, in this moment, is for me to know Him. The rain tickles down. The smell of rain. The feel and the warmth of rain. The smattering leaves and the endless summer and life so much more than an empty bottle.

I prayed for a diet soda, and never ever would He give it to me. Not ever. Not any chance. Forget it was ever a thought. Not when His heart is swollen for me to drink Him up, drenched, in love, knowing Him, forever knowing Him, just me and Him and His tears of joy for the life I have in Him.

Jesus says it much better:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

In other words, God always gives what is best for us, not what we think is best for us. Often times what we want may harm us, but God’s gifts are always good.

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