Saturday, 9 May 2015

If I could have anything I wanted, what would I ask for?

This was A Confederate soldier's prayer, by an unknown Confederate soldier during the American Civil War:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men most richly blessed. 

What would I ask for, if God were to give me anything I wanted? Would I want to be healthy, wealthy or wise?

To be healthy?
Health is good soil for cultivating ingratitude, taking for granted that our bodies work well.
Health brings ease and comfort. Ease and comfort sometimes makes it difficult to understand those whose lives are full of dis-ease and dis-comfort.
The search for good health can consume our thoughts and attitudes and all our worldly endeavours.

To be rich? 
Wealth brings opportunity.Opportunity to be generous. Opportunity to be selfish.
Wealth brings responsibility. Responsibility to use it wisely and generously, not selfishly.
Wealth brings relationship difficulties: with those who seek relationship because they, too, want to share in the wealth or want it for themselves.
And it brings barriers between those who have, and those who have not, colouring their common humanity.

To be wise?
Wisdom can bring about great good for us and others.
Wisdom can avert many a potential disaster, guide us into good living, mend broken, damaged relationships, restore fortunes.
Wisdom is GOOD.
But wisdom without humility brings a lust for power, a longing for money, desires which lead to utter selfishness.


I would ask for contentment. To be so utterly content in the moment that dissatisfaction or unease would be strangers to my soul.

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