We’ve all played this game before.
“If a genie appeared before you right now and granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?”
We all like to think we’d make a good call. And although the genie is hypothetical, often we find ourselves saying (to others or to ourselves):
“If I just had … things would be ok”
“… I’d be a better person”
“… I’d be a good Christian”
If it just got rid of that vice, that person who always gets on my nerves. If I could just earn a little more money. If Church on Sunday was just a bit shorter.
All of these usually translate to: if everything was easier.
My favourite response to this? If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Don’t let this belittle your struggles. We all have genuine crosses that are often heavy and burdensome. And we all do need a little help to lighten the load. Even Christ let Simon of Cyrene help Him carry His cross.
But if we were given three wishes, or even one, would wishing away our biggest struggle in life save us? Or would another just take its place? Probably the latter.
So what would we wish for? What should we pray for?
The thing that a young man desired when God (like a genie!) asked him this very question.
“Wisdom,” Solomon replied. “To discern between good and evil.”
Often we associate wisdom with long grey beards and wrinkles. We regard it as something that comes to us with time, rather than something we have to actively seek and practice in time.
Solomon was young and inexperienced when he became a king of a whole nation – he would have a new cross to bear every day and time wasn’t going to wait for him. Solomon saw what he lacked and he asked God to provide it. In doing so, he did just as God expects of us – to let Him help us. We don’t get points for striving for holiness on our own because it’s just not possible.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength”1 Corinthians 1:25
Solomon saw that the cause of his cross and struggles was deeper than how it presented itself through the pressure of being a king. Our flaws, weaknesses, vices and misfortunes aren’t singular – but the effect they have is due to a single cause. That is, our human nature.
Our mind is darkened. Our will is weakened. Our judgement is poor, this is evidenced instantly when we think a cross is too much for us because that is when we decide to carry it alone.
Instead, if we pray for, pursue and practice wisdom, we can face every cross with good judgement by having faith that God will guide us through.
Elise is a second year Medical student in Sydney from rural NSW who enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors. She also loves food but when it comes to cooking – she claims to burn water.