I have often heard that one should be careful what you wish for! For many years I had a big, big wish. I saw pictures of side by side refrigerator/freezers that had 2 doors and admired. They were doors that opened vertically and not horizontally like mine had always done. I visited other homes where there were side by side appliances and wished! I was envious of people that I knew that had those side by side refrigerator/freezer appliances. I possibly might have been jealous or maybe even coveted a bit. At any rate, I was just positively sure that I wanted one of those. I just knew that if I could only have one, I would be so happy! I did not like to have to "stand on my head" to see what was in the bottom part of my refrigerator while the things in the upper freezer compartment that were visible were not the things that I needed to see everyday! I was sure that a side by side would solve my problems. Oh how I wished for what I didn't have. It became more than just my wish, it became my great desire. Then one day our refrigerator suddenly quit working and we had to replace it immediately. And God seemed to provide the answer to my wishes and prayers! Would you believe it? A very nice side by side refrigerator/freezer was available for us to buy and at a very good price! A used appliance that was clean, ran perfectly and was a Side by Side, and was available and at a price we could pay for, was found. I was just sure that God had blessed us and made my wishes come true. I made all sorts of good resolutions about how I was going to keep it so clean and so organized. I just knew all my problems had been solved! My dream came true. I felt so blessed. My prayers had been answered! I was so so thankful!
It did not take too many weeks to realize that my problems had not been solved! I came to realize that having both parts of the appliance side by side severely limited the width of the refrigerator! I hadn't planned on that problem! I could no longer put a cake pan sized casserole or any other large bowl or pan on a shelf in the refrigerator. Thawing something like a turkey in it wasn't going to happen if I had many of the things that most people like to always have or keep in their refrigerators. Milk, eggs, catsup, salad dressings, leftovers, secret candy bars, tomorrow's pudding--all of those things became troublesome. And I came to regret my wish that had come true! I want shelves that I can actually put a casserole dish on to keep fresh for Sabbath potluck dinners! I want to be able to put leftovers away without having to solve the make it fit puzzle. I hope that in the future I will be more careful about what I wish for the next time I think I want something different. I hope I will stop to think about all parts of my wishful thinking and what they might mean to the future.
Recently this same refrigerator has once again been teaching me this lesson of being careful what you wish for! Whether because of how the appliance is designed or because we live in an old farmhouse--whatever the reason, the door of the refrigerator part has always swung closed. It would swing shut when I didn't want it to. It never seemed to give me time to get more than one item out. I was allowed one thing and then would have to open it up again to get another. It does seem like this was my problem and not the refrigerators but I still wanted it to be different! I wanted it to give me just a little bit longer to maybe get the milk and the catsup out at the same door opening time! It was making me more and more frustrated--especially when moving and turning my body was becoming more and more painful. I wished that it would stay open until I wanted it shut.
Then one day it stayed open!! The next time it again stayed open. And the next time, too! How strange! And I should have been happy. It was doing what I wanted--or thought that I wanted. But I wasn't happy!! Now I wanted it to swing shut--the very thing that I didn't want before. It would appear that nothing can make me happy. We thought of various reasons for the change. Did something get spilled and make it sticky? Did we do something to make the door not fit quite right? Did I overload the shelves on the door to make it not align right? I was feeling a bit guilty of something, just not sure what I was guilty of. I felt like I needed to get down on my knees to explore the problem further, but my painful knee and hip discouraged me from doing that. So I had to live with my wish come true that I wished I hadn't wished! Eventually my husband was also getting frustrated with the change that had taken place and did get down on his knees to discover that something had worn out and was causing the door to be stubborn about swinging shut. A sigh of relief from me! It wasn't my neglect that caused my wish--my now unwanted wish--to come true.
All this led me to think about where the saying be careful..... came from. Once again, I employed Google for the answer.
Who originally said be careful what you wish for?—The origin of this saying is Aesop's Fables, the world's best known collection of morality tales. In the story The Old Man and Death--
An old man that had travell’d a great way under a huge burden of sticks, found himself so weary, that he cast it down, and call’d upon Death to deliver him from a more miserable life. The Old Man was tired of picking up sticks and called on Death to take him. Death came presently at his call, and asked him his bus’ness. When Death arrived, the Old Man asked him to pick up the sticks.
Changed his mind!!
Pray good sir, says he, do me but the favour to help me up with my burden again.
Men call upon death, as they do upon the devil: when he comes they’re afraid of him.
Moral—Be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true! If we aren't careful, getting what we want could be a recipe for disaster. Above all else, the biggest reason to be mindful of what we wish for is that we're prone to believe we'll be happier once we acquire what we desire. What does be careful what you wish for mean? It is an idiom used to tell people to think before they say that they want something and to suggest that they may not actually want it.
Today, lots of people call my predicaments Karma! One person described it as Every act done, no matter how insignificant, will eventually return to the doer with equal impact. Good will be returned with good; evil with evil. Others say, What goes around comes around. The Dutch say, He who does good, will meet good. Nearly every culture has a similar adage. Many think that karma is not a Christian concept. But the Bible alludes to karma. Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote, "Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him." Isaiah 3:11ESV. And in his letter to the Galatians, Paul warned, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." Galatians 6:7ESV Sometimes it appears that bad guys get away with mischief and crime, but in the end, they reap what they sow. Another verse says, Be sure your sins will find you out! Numbers 32:23KJV
I read a story of a store manager who liked to "lord it over" subordinates and others. One afternoon, he called for a newspaper rep to come to see him immediately about an advertisement matter. But when the man arrived to clarify what the ad would be like and the cost and was made to wait at least 20 minutes, then the store manager said, "Oh, I don't plan to run the ad, I just wanted to know how much it would cost if I did!" The newspaper man had been the victim of the manager's nastiness once again. Then a few weeks later, that same manager was fired! "Karma" had caught up with him. What he had sowed, he had to reap! And when he applied to the newspaper for another job, of course his application was ignored!
There is in life what is known as the Universal Paradox: You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.
Live wisely! Karma is real. What you want and what you get might not be what you should have.
One of our sons prayed that he would not have to live in a certain city. He also prayed that he and his fiancé would not have their wedding on a certain date. God answered his prayer, but not in the way that he wanted. Be careful about your reasons for your wish and prayer—be sure it is not a selfish reason.
One time, one of our parishioners where we were serving, prayed that she would be able to go back to church. Her husband had prevented her from attending. God did answer her prayer. Her husband died and she was free to go back to attending church and did!
God answers prayers. Make sure your wishes/prayers are not selfish!