Thursday, 06 August 2009
So you've prayed you're prayers, believed in His willingness to answer you, trusted the promises in Scripture, claimed them in faith for your life... and nothing's happening. What? That's right... nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. He's on vacation. It's nap time in Heaven. Silence.
What the heck is happening? Don't You know how much I suffer?! What are you waiting for?!! Give me the promise, with extra cheese and hold the pickles!!!
More silence, more frustration, and some very unhappy complaints.
This might be because you are not familiar with God's two rules for answered prayer. Here they are:
1. "I am the Lord. We're going to do it My way."
2. "If you have questions or complaints, see rule #1."
It seems simplistic, but it is profound in its application. Yes, God is considerate of your needs, has heard your prayers, and is aware of your suffering. However, there is a Lordship issue involved in getting Him to do something about it. The first rule speaks to accepting that while God can be trusted to answer your prayers, He is going to do so with the answer that He thinks is best for your solution, and in the time that He thinks is right. Can you get a different answer than the one He has fashioned? Nope. He does not change His mind. Can you hurry Him along? Nope. He has his own clock, and He's not interested in how your watch reads things. This is how it is. He's very stubborn about these two points. They are, shall we say, 'deal breakers.'
A good example of this is Abraham. He wanted a son. His wife Sarah however, was barren. God therefore promised him a son. So they waited. And they waited. A year went by. A decade. Another decade. Where was God? Finally, Sarah, feeling very much like God had forgotten, neglected, or broken His promise, decided to give her hand-maid Hagar to Abraham, so that they could have a son through her. Big mistake. Immediately Hagar was lifted up in pride against her mistress Sarah, and boasted both of having had her husband Abraham, and of being more of a woman because she conceived. Sarah was miserable for being made a fool of daily, and Abraham was miserable because he had a house with two contending women. I say again, big mistake. Nightmare.
The problem is that they didn't follow God's two rules. Number one, doing it His way. God was in the mood to demonstrate His power. In this case, He wanted to wait until Sarah was past the child-bearing years, so that He could show His miraculous power. Sarah and Abraham decided to do it their way; enter Hagar. This is where God moved to rule number two: Seeing rule number one. When you ignore rule number one, God is forced to take the matter to rule number two, and show you why you should have followed rule number one. In this case, God either allowed or caused a spirit of pride to be lifted up in Hagar that made both Sarah and Abraham deeply regret what they'd done, despite the joy of having a son through her in Ishmael. That certainly brought some measure of joy to Abraham's life (if not Sarah's) but the cost of dealing with Hagar was so unbearable that Sarah finally drove Hagar and her son away with ill treatment. Yet God's grace is extravagant. He met Hagar in the wilderness, where she was in a more humbled mood after being chased out, and He corrected her of her pride, telling her to return to her mistress and be submissive. Hagar returned then, a properly corrected hand-maid and things were smoothed over a time.
Until Issac came along that is. Now there was a new conflict: sibling rivalry. The first-born son vs. the miracle son. The conflict rears up, it contends a time, everybody is miserable, and again, Sarah gets Hagar thrown out with her son Ishmael, to the sorrow of Abraham, who obviously loved both his sons as any good father would.
The moral of the story? Follow rule number one and do it God's way, or He will be forced to take you to rule number two, and demonstrate to you just how bad your idea and your timing really is. I know you think you know what you need when you need it, and you certainly know what you want when you want it, but there is no escaping the reality that God knows what is best for you and when it is best for you to have it, as well as for those around you.
Don't make Him come down here and prove it. It's a bad deal for everyone involved.
Do you have trouble waiting for God to answer your prayers?