June 22, 2018
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:12-14
I have a small charm that I wear on a necklace. It simply says “Pray through. Press on.” I had it custom-made to remind me of what to do when I get stuck.
During a rough time a few years ago, the Lord impressed on me that I needed to think beyond the difficult time I was in. Through His Word, He showed me how to pray through the difficult time and know that He would answer my prayers in His time and His way.
When I was focused on the problem itself, my heart would sink and I would feel helpless to do anything about it. My efforts seemed to have me bumping up against walls – immovable walls.
Through that time, I learned the one thing I could do was pray as though God had already answered my prayers – because He had promised me He would. My attitude shifted so that I could be hopeful about the ending.
Now, I must tell you that God answered my prayers in a way I did not like at all. Not one bit. Nope. Not happy. No fair. Lots of tears.
But God answered my prayers in His time and His way. Now that I’m several years past that rough time, I can look back and see that His answer was perfect. His plan for me during that time was to prepare me for the future. It was to put me in a position in my life to do the next thing He had planned for me.
If God always answers my prayers like I want Him to, I’d stay stuck in my life. I would be in a rut, sinking deeper and deeper in the same place. Comfortable? Yes. Productive? No. Growing? No. Happy? Not ultimately.
Short term happiness but long-term stagnant. You know what happens to stagnant water don’t you? It gets stinky. None of my life goals include being stinky.
I want to keep growing in my spiritual life and that means getting uncomfortable. Praying through every day of my life, knowing that I’m not just tossing a prayer onto a situation and asking God to bless it. I need to pray through every day and know that God will answer in the best way because it is His way.
Lord, you are the almighty, powerful God. I know you hear and answer my prayers even though it’s not always how I think they will be answered. Work in my heart, Lord, so that I readily accept your answers even when they are uncomfortable. Help me to accept your “no” answers with less tears and more joy. Give me the patience I need to wait for your answers when you say the timing is not right.