Today I'm pondering the tension between faith to pray for the desires of my heart, and praising God that I don't yet have them - accepting and being thankful for things just as they are today, even if they never change. How am I supposed to be thankful for unanswered prayer? How do I balance between them?
I have a few things I've been praying for for years. One in particular where the lack of it in my life hurts my heart. I'm generally thankful for all that I have, and for all God has done in and through me. But then moments come when I just can't pray any more.
Yesterday I heard a message by a woman who was talking about how she prayed that her husband would not be deployed. He was deployed - basically, God said, "No." She was angry and let God know (I can relate). When she finally decided to go to church, with gritted teeth, He said, "Will you praise me that your husband was deployed?" She lifted her hands and did as God asked.
God said, "Will you praise me that he may never come back?" She did, out of obedience, through tears. In doing so she released her husband into God's hands.
At that moment, her husband received an assignment that, in years past, would have meant almost certain death. He cried out to God for protection and deliverance. What had been happening at that place for many years did not happen! All survived.
I knew what I had to do today in my quiet time: praise God that things are as they are, and that my prayers may never be answered. I did, through tears. I acknowledged that He's good, He loves me, and He knows what He's doing...regardless of what I can see or not see. I asked Him to show me how to live with the "no" answer. I released my situation into God's hands. He gave me His peace and comfort - I actually felt thankful for unanswered prayer!
On with my quiet time. Next up? Jennifer LeClaire's devotional "Mornings with the Holy Spirit." Title of today's reading? "Ask God for the Desires of Your Heart."
I had to laugh. OK, God, so I need some help here. Praise You and be thankful for unanswered prayer, and yet have faith to keep praying? It hurts to keep praying, yet you do command us to pray many places in the Bible. How do I balance these?
Then My Utmost for His Highest. Title: "The Riches of the Destitute." Excerpt from the reading...
We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves.
That's it! I am trying to earn / do / make things happen by praying. Truth is, I cannot pray the desires of my heart into existence. I also can't let go enough or praise God enough to earn the blessings from Him. My part is to love, trust, and obey God, and to continue to focus on Who He is...not on what I do or don't have...or on anything about me.
It's not about balancing anything; it's about putting all my eggs in God's basket.
Today I marvel at how faithfully God reveals Himself to us when we are willing to do things His way. For now I am at peace, having handed everything to God and praising Him for Who He is, and thanking Him that I am His.
Today things will happen. Tomorrow the hurt may return and I may take it all back. Then I'll be right back where I started this morning.
And God will be right there waiting for me with open arms!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)