There had been a severe drought, and the members of a rural congregation were deeply concerned that their crops would be ruined. With the pastor’s encouragement, they all decided to meet back at the church that afternoon to hold a special prayer service asking God to bring rain for their dying crops. Later that day after they had all gathered together, the minister stood up and announced in disappointment that they were cancelling the prayer service. When asked why, he told them because they didn’t believe it would bring the rain. “Why do you say that,” they asked. “Because not one of you brought an umbrella,” he replied.
I’m sure you’ve all heard this story at one time or another and isn’t it so true. How often do we beg and plead with God, knowing he can, but unconvinced that he will provide, sustain, and whatever else we’ve prayed about. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about a desire of mine which is, for me, humanly impossible. I would have completely abandoned the idea altogether except my friend reminded me that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) We know that God can do the “impossible” – “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) Granted, Jesus was speaking specifically about entering the kingdom of God and how it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a person we believe to be perfect and who seems to have all the right stuff to earn a halo by his own merit. What I’m hoping for is so much smaller than that. If God can bridge the gap between our sinfulness and his holiness, then he wouldn’t have any problem at all making my heart’s desire a reality. I know he can. What I can't answer is - why would he? I have to turn back to Jesus' words for my answer: "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
Sometimes we pray for something and then sit there like a couch potato, sending a reminder to God from time to time… “I’m still waiting!” And when we don’t see any movement toward what we want the outcome to be, we say our prayer wasn’t answered or that the answer was no. Seriously! Do we really think that? God is our heavenly Father. He’s not going to sit by and not say or do anything when we come to him with our needs and desires. He’s going to scoop us up into his arms and talk with us, not like the department store Santa at Christmas time going over a wish list, but like a loving, doting father who is drawn to the care and nurture of his precious little ones. We just need to stop listening for what we want to hear and looking for what we want to see and actually pay attention to what he says and does to know how much he loves and cares for us.
So what about this secret desire I’m praying about? I don’t know yet and won’t for a while – This is one of those long-term situations. What I do know is that God will answer and when I know and take hold of his answer, I will be happy. How do I know that? Because God told me so: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 4:6-7)
About the pictures:
Blackwater Falls State Park (May 2010)