“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 (NIV)
God has been asking me to learn more about prayer for quite a while. I wasn’t deliberately ignoring Him, but I wasn’t making that request a high priority either, mainly because I wasn’t sure where to begin. It seemed a bit overwhelming. As He tends to do out of His love for me, He made it an assignment for me so that I couldn’t ignore the request any longer.
I started reading a book about prayer and one of the points the author made stuck with me. God loves us so much He desires us to mature more than anything else. Not because He wants us miserable or going through hard times particularly, but because He knows that mature Christians will get things done. Mature adults know what to do and even if the task is difficult, they will stick with it until it’s complete. God has such a love for unbelievers and He chooses to use us, those who are His children, to share His love with those who don’t know it or haven’t experienced it personally. So… He needs mature Christians who aren’t afraid to get the job done which is why He desires our maturation more than He desires us to live a comfortable life.
Another point the author made was praying through a situation. He talked about how no one can cause another person to care deeply enough about a situation or a person to press in until they receive an answer. That compassion and determination has to come from the individual himself. Piggybacking this idea was the truth that there are going to be times when it feels like God isn’t answering our prayers or is telling us “no.” While we may never understand why He chooses to heal some on earth and others in Heaven, it’s not up to us to always understand. However it is up to us to trust that He has it all under control, even when we receive an answer we don’t like.
I went to bed with all these thoughts swirling through my mind and quickly drifted off to sleep. God woke me up in the middle of the night heavily burdened for a particular family in my church. They are going through not just a rough time, but a time that by earthly standards looks completely hopeless. I read their Facebook update yesterday and I think that is why God laid them on my heart.
I began praying… but instead of just praying for this family, I started asking God why? Why certain families and not others? Why certain burdens and not others? Everyone, I think, could agree with me that each of us have to carry a burden of some type or another. We all aren’t asked to carry the burden of sickness or financial issues or family relationship problems or insert your own needs, but each of us, if we live long enough, will end up carrying one or several burdens throughout our lifetime.
It was while I was asking God “why?” that I heard His answer so clearly, as though He had spoken out loud. “Through them My glory will be revealed.” One sentence. That is all He said. At first I didn’t understand what that meant. The longer I laid there, listening, thinking … I started to see the bigger picture I think God wanted me to see. Come back next time and I will share what it was.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016