I am still learning to take God for His great and mighty word. There are things I do not, and will never, understand. There are things I’m beginning to see more clearly as I get older. And there are things which are so clear right now that I’m almost missing them for that reason.
You see, right now, I’m sort of in a state of wrestling with God. I’ve not actually challenged Him or hollered at Him, but I’m working (as hard as one human can) to understand what kind of work He is doing in my life. While I’m praying for discernment more than I’m praying for anything else, I am not always receiving clear answers.
And I’m finding that the silence is my answer.
In Luke 11 Jesus tells the disciples to “ask, seek and knock,” and bolsters His command with the parable of the shamelessly persistent friend. He demonstrated that, if a friend would disturb his own sleeping house to answer a passerby’s late-night request for food, then surely Our Father would answer our persistent petitions. The passage gives us hope that our constant prayers will not go unanswered.
So what are we to think when we are praying, and praying… and still praying,
but not seeing that door open?
The immediate revelation seems to be to just keep asking, keep knocking, keep waiting. And while this is true I have found another layer of blessing in the passage.
The way Jesus parallels prayer with a dire need for food leads me to rethink exactly what my soul is needing in the moments when I’m fervently praying. Maybe, there is a void I do not realize I have. While I’m praying for material things, domestic peace, and emotional balance, I believe the Lord is exposing something deeper.
In those times where I’m praying so hard that I’m all but climbing a ladder so He’ll hear me better, I am falling apart from the fear that He has abandoned my requests. I begin to think I’m asking for the wrong things, that I’m praying selfishly, or that I’m just not in a place to receive blessing. Oh, how false this is!
Jesus said the man at the door asks shamelessly, persistently, and in this case, on behalf of another. He says that, though the man’s home was settled for the night, he would still answer because of the persistent request. Imagine the joy of the man at the door when he received some bread. Imagine the peace in his heart, knowing he could continue on his travels, until he was in need again.
I’d like to think that the Lord wishes to see us thrive this same way.. and sometimes on only one prayer at a time.
He is abundant, but He has always instructed us to have “our daily bread” and to “not store up treasures on earth.” He showed us how He provides for the sparrows, who do not worry about their needs. He has demonstrated unknown goodness and favor by illustrating the bloom of the lilies of the valley, that bloom without toil. He provides, but it will come in its time, and each time we witness His work we are witnessing a new miracle and our faith is grown a bit more.
He promises abundance, but we cannot always have it all at once.
So when I pray, and it seems I am speaking out to emptiness, I try to remember that His goodness is always at work, and sometimes He just wants me to want and believe and be faithful a little bit longer. He delights in my constant praying, in my hope of His goodness, and in my words when I say “I just know He is for me.. this will be heard.”
How much greater to receive after an exhausting work than to simply receive from a simple expectation. He wants us to expect things of Him, yes, but perhaps He desires more for that expectation to be the outpouring of a deeply rooted and unshakeable faith.
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