In my lifetime, I have consciously stolen one thing. Well, I attempted to steal something and got caught. When I was little, my grandmother ended up moving a few towns over to Guntserville, Al to save money. She lived in projects-like housing that was low income and rather cramped to say the least. Nanny, as we affectionately called her, often would only allow us to play outside if she was on the porch because he said it was just too dangerous. “People get shot around here.” I didn’t believe her then. My brother and I didn’t mind too much because the summer she moved there, basic cable began offering cartoon network free of charge. Anyway, she let us play with two kids that lived across the street because she had struck a friendship up with the lady who lived there. They both liked to roll their own cigarettes instead of buying individual cartons so they became friends (maybe for other reasons too). One thing I remember about the boys across the street was their card collection. They had all sorts of DC and Marvel cards with various super heroes printed on them. Despite not really caring about those types of things when I was little (superheroes were not my thing), I became envious. I wanted those cards.
One day Nanny, my brother, and I took a trip to Fred’s to get some groceries. To my amazement, I came across packages of Marvel and DC cards in the toy aisle. It was the same ones the boys across the street owned. I thought to myself that the best thing to do was slip a pack in my pocket and just nonchalantly walk out when we were finished shopping. I did not ask because I knew my grandmother didn’t have much money. Well, we began to leave and I went to walk out the store only to have the dorm alarms go off rather loudly as I began to panic. Like a naïve child, I did not think I could get caught. I failed to see the large censors which were plain as day placed right beside the door. I looked at my grandmother’s face as the store clerk walked over and asked me to empty my pockets. I abruptly did and immediately began to lie saying, “I swear I wasn’t going to take them. I swear I wasn’t Nanny. Believe me!” She was obviously embarrassed. She apologized to the clerk who let me off while shaking his head and we walked out.
I remember what she said to me to this day once we got out of the store. She said, “Austin, Nanny loves you and would have bought those playing cards for you if you had only asked. I’m not mad. I’m disappointed but I love you.” I didn’t say much going home. It had never occurred to me while in the store plotting and planning my treachery that had I only asked, Nanny would have bought those cards for me. She didn’t have much money but I know she would’ve put back something for herself so I could be happy. That was just how my Nanny was.
Brothers and sisters, I think we lose out on so much in our Christian lives because we naturally assume God won’t give us our heart’s desires. We run ever so quickly into sin because we fail to believe and trust that God is able to satisfy our very longings, desires for intimacy, wholeness, satisfaction and more. Sam Storms write, “What are [most] rationalizations based on? One lie. The most pernicious, heinous, Satanic lie of all. They are based on the lie that God really isn’t good after all; that God is neither able nor willing to do for our souls or bodies what they so desperately need done; that therefore God can’t be trusted with our fears and doubts and hopes and hurts. Since God doesn’t care and can’t be trusted, we’ll find satisfaction somewhere else. And so often, we do.”Did Jesus himself not say, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” in Matthew 7:7? Beloved child of God, try asking God to meet your needs before you jump so hastily into sin. He offers eternal pleasures (Psa. 16:11) and can meet our every need (Eph. 3:20).