“I pray and I don’t get what I pray for.” I swear this is one of the most frustrating things when you’re dealing with an invisible God. But, if He’s carrying us on His shoulders and sets us down because there’s a low bridge coming up, do we sit on the ground and throw a tantrum or just hold His hand and keep walking?
My friend Judith posted a story on Facebook. Her friend’s child had asked for M&Ms. The kid wanted three, and her friend had offered her five instead. The kid demanded, “NO! I want THREE!” She didn’t yet know what five was, but Mom did.
The book I’m reading now, Red Sea Situations, says:
- If you struggle with perspective and faith, look inside and see what God is trying to change.
- Self-pity encapsulates your mind and then your heart into believing that what you are thinking is actually truth.
A book that has defined much of my spiritual understanding, Experiencing God, urges us to acknowledge that our experiences do not always tell us the truth. Truth is a Person, and He is eternal and enormous. The disciples, tossed at sea, thought the truth was, “We’re going to die!” The Truth was Jesus, and he was in the boat with them. He woke and calmed the storm. They thought the truth was that the Messiah would reign in an earthly kingdom like Caesar had, sometime soon, and then they watched as their Messiah was crucified. They didn’t realize until he had risen from the dead and spoken with them that God had bigger plans than one more guy imposing taxes and carrying a scepter. They came to know the Truth in stages—by watching Him minister in His 30s, by meeting the Holy Spirit after Jesus had ascended, and by seeing life after life changed as they traveled and spoke the Truth and hearts opened up.
What encapsulates you or boxes you in right now? Are you accepting any of the following as truth?
- I’ve worked too hard to get where I am to lose it all.
- Nobody will help me. I pray and God does nothing.
- I take one step forward and two steps back.
- I would be the happiest person in the world if I could have/do/keep/prevent…
If you feel like you are banging your head against the wall, see if the doorway is on another wall. The Lord may be redirecting you. He may be trying to give you more than the THREE you are demanding. He has so much to show you. Do you need to let go of something you are clutching now or grasping for? Do you need to let go of the assumption that life will be over if you don’t have what you are accustomed to? That is a tough one—how far down can we go before we give up hope? We don’t give up hope.
God is not stingy. He does not ask for our devotion and give us misery. Nor does He give us the keys to something we would instantly wreck in our ignorance. He asks for our love and trust and then gives us more than we could ask or imagine, while working with us side by side to develop our skills and character for what He has planned. Sometimes He removes distractions so we can focus, because what He’s showing us is that important. His imagination is bigger than ours, and much more fulfilling.
You may feel that you have searched all the walls in your situation, and there are no doors. If so, try the following:
- Make a regular hang-out time with God. I recommend walking in the sunshine (even if you have to wear a coat) or sitting near a window with a journal.
- Focus on getting to know God as a person. After centuries of trying to communicate to us through prophets and visions, God went so far as to pour His essence into a man, Jesus, so we could touch Him and know how far He was willing to go for us. Get to know Him as more than a spiritual governor who grants petitions and makes rules. He wants a relationship.
- Decide to trust God’s timing, because delays are not always about you. Sometimes there are other things that have to get into place. God doesn’t waste any of your time, though. He will continue doing great things in your life as you develop your relationship with Him.
- Ask God to give you the Holy Spirit and to give you His eyes to see the world, your heart and your situation.
In 2 Kings 6, Elisha and his servant woke one morning and found that they were surrounded by the army of an angry king, whose battle plans Elisha had been wrecking. His servant was terrified by what he saw, but Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” The servant looked around and saw that the hills were full of a fiery, heavenly army. God’s army not only protected Elisha and his servant, but also the soldiers who had been sent to attack them. At the end of the day, those men were sent home to their families and the king who sent them stopped raiding Israel. I wish all our battles were fought this way.
As I said that, I could almost hear someone try to wall God in with a “That just wouldn’t work.” And so it goes—as we examine who God is and He opens our eyes to bigger possibilities than we’ve previously known, we tend to find gut reactions that say, “No, that wouldn’t work.” Those are the times we need to examine what we are currently accepting as truth, and then we need to hang out with God, asking for our eyes to be opened to what God is doing so we can join in and experience all that He wants for us.
Lord, today help me to choose not to be limited by what I can see, hear, feel but instead use my senses to become aware of the amazing Engineer who is Lord of my life. The world around me and even my own complex senses are proof that You do things I wouldnt even think of doing