I woke up sad this morning and told the Lord so. How can I live under a socialist government? How can I live under a government whose values are so deeply different than mine? The Lord reminded me joyfully that my citizenship is in heaven with Him. These are "civilian affairs" -- concerns of a world that is passing away. And He is in total control of these affairs. But Lord, I have to live in this world right now. And it makes me sad and feels like a burden to me. And He reminded me that Jesus also lived under a government that His people hated. And Jesus set the ultimate example of submitting to God the Father and submitting to the authorities God has placed over us on earth. He let them kill Him. Yet He had joy in the face of it all, because He knew where His real home was. Thank You, Lord, for your comfort today!
I've been photo-tagged by Carrie. Fun! Here's the rule:post the fourth picture in the fourth pictures folder you have on your computer, and explain. This lovely photo is from my high school pics folder, and is of my friend Jessica. We were at Universal City Walk celebrating my 16th birthday. We were so silly then.
OK, and now to tag four friends (and you all must post a photo and 'splain and tag four friends!)
1. Jenny Smith 2. Emily Edwards 3. Carol Hill 4. Maureen Hendricks
You know what the problem is? God has not told me to ask for a miracle. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." I believe what God has told me.
Abraham is a great example to me. Abraham believed God would miraculously give him and Sarah a son because God said He would. He took God at His word. I can't believe God will act in a certain way if he hasn't told me that that is His plan or desire.
It would be the same if I said to Kurt: "Kurt, I believe you will buy me a diamond necklace" and then was confused or frustrated when he didn't, as though my believing can force him to act a certain way. I might ask and we'd talk it over, and maybe he'd even get me one in the end, but I can't assume what he wants to do. But if he came home one day and said, "I'm gonna get you a diamond necklace" then of course I could expect to receive one. He is a man of his word. It is the same with God. (And just think how it would hurt Kurt if he said he would do this thing for me and I didn't take him at his word!)
Do I believe in miracles? Absolutely. Have I experienced one? Yes. But God approached me first on that one. He has a plan and its awesome to be given insight into it, to be used in it. Its way more fun to be in a conversational relationship and a partnership than to just be going about like I know what he wants all the time and trying to make it happen. The hammer isn't accomplishing ANYthing if it isn't in the Capenter's hand.
Am I supposed to pray for miracles? Am I? Maybe that's like the high jump where the bar is at the tippy top. I don't think God wants us to ask for things we don't believe He will give us; I think he wants us to pray with faith--only ask when we can ask with certainty in our hearts that He'll answer. "But without faith it is impossible to please God, for anyone who comes to Him must first believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." Heb 11:7 I think my obsessing over praying for miracles comes from the idea that I SHOULD have that much faith. And maybe that is the goal. But its silly to pretend that I do have that much faith and give God lipservice. Its dumb. Who am I fooling? Maybe my pride. Well, IT certainly doesn't need to be inflated anymore.
Heavenly Father, please help me to believe for all the things you want to do. Please give me insight into your desires and ways so I can pray according to your good will. Reveal to me all of my own ideas about what you want or will do, and replace those ideas with true knowledge. I love you. Because of the grace you've shown me in Christ, I come to you. Amen.
I'm always having a hard time with the idea of miraculous healing...maybe of anything miraculous happening. I know it does but I can never pray for miracles. God and I both know I don't really think He'll do it. Recently both of my kids have been sick, the sickest I've ever seen, and I thought I should pray for them. I did pray for William when he was at his worst, telling God I knew He was merciful and begging Him for mercy on William. That was the middle of the night. The next day William slept until 2 in the afternoon and was clearly much better when he woke up. Not miraculously without a trace of illness, but much much better. I knew God had answered. Now I'm at the same point with Ellie, but still just don't know how to pray. Knowing nothing about healing, I had this vague idea that there is some combination of words or something I am supposed to feel that will make it happen. But as I was trying (in vain) to pray for her, I felt like God was a little amused at me--like I was doing some silly "rain dance" to get what I wanted. I stopped and admitted defeat. What now Lord? But then I looked at her and even though there were no obvious signs of a recovery, I knew she was OK. Something inside said that there was no longer a cause for concern. Still, what about those prayers that yield immediate obvious miraculous healing? Am I still supposed to seek that? But then He spoke to me again through Elizabeth Elliot, as He so often does. "Just leave him to me" was the title of the devotional. And through it, He told me to pray and then rest and trust Him. Not trust Him to do what I had asked, but to trust Him that He heard and was holding both me and Ellie in His hands. Look to Him in quiet trust and know He will do what is good.
I was lying on the couch trying to take a nap, and started thinking about horse drawn sleighs. They put these little eye patches on the harness called "blinders" (or "winkers" if you're in the UK) that help keep the horse from being distracted by what's behind and around them. They can't see the driver but obviously know that he's there by the tug on their mouths.
Walking by faith seems a lot like that to me. We can't see the Lord but we have to learn to be sensitive and obedient to the direction He gives us. And we need to be free from distraction, otherwise we might get scared and run away or see something else we want and wander off the course the Driver has determined to take. We need to be blind to all but His will, and then we will be really useful to Him, like a horse that knows and does nothing but its master's will.
I prayed for blinders, like the horse has. Lord, let us be sensitive only to what You are doing and asking of us. Let us be guided only by your wise and good hands, and not by what we see around us. Because we can't make sense of all we see any better than a horse, and our desires won't lead to anything profitable being accomplished in Your Kingdom. It's Your "sleigh"; make us useful to You...
Maybe this experiment seems a little extreme or even wrong to someone reading this. I admit I wondered it myself. But I love God, I want God. The more I taste of Him, the more I want to drop everything else and be His, utterly His. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" the Scripture goes, and it is so so true. But this is my experience. Maybe I am a wacko.
Is this experiment also for every other believer? I think it is. Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." In all my years of being a Christian, this experiment is the only means I have ever found that allows me to, at least for a moment at a time, obey that commandment. If there is another method for doing so, by all means do that as well or instead. But do something. If the Son of God Himself called that one the greatest commandment, then it seems to me that we as Christians ought to be bending their whole will to obey it, right?