Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beneath the Surface

Many times in the past, I have written a blog on something as soon as the thought crossed my mind.  This time, I have taken a thought that began its work in me a few weeks ago and waited on it before writing.  At this point, I feel this has been so eye-opening that I hope it can bless others in the way it has blessed me.  I have seen a change in my heart and my understanding.

I spent a lot of time praying for something over and over again.  I saw no results.  I was following the popular acronym of "push" (pray until something happens) feeling as though I just needed to keep praying to see my prayers "answered." In the middle of this, God brought something even more significant to my attention. Often, we pray for what we want to see.  In my case, what I was praying for was aligned with the Bible.  I wasn't praying immediately for some selfish desire. What I was missing was that I was not having faith.  I kept praying for the same thing because I did not SEE the change happening and therefore I did not BELIEVE that God was working. While the Bible talks about the fact that faith is believing in an unseen God, I think it applies here too because we have to believe that God knows what is best and is working even when we don't see it.  Often we act out of a lack of faith.

I continued praying because I wasn't having faith--not because I was truly longing for what was good. Likewise, I was getting frustrated.  Why isn't God doing anything? What more do I need to do? C'mon God do something! There's the problem.  Everything is on my terms, my way.  There is a time when God wants us to act, and then there is a time when God wants us to believe.
We need to believe that God hears our prayers and knows what is best.  We need to believe that when we see something wrong in the world and we have done our part on it, the rest is up to God to deal with. When we continue on and on trying to "fix" problems, we take our trust away from God and basically call him a liar. We act as though we are the ones who need to do God's work for him because truly in our hearts we don't believe he is doing it because we don't SEE it.

The thing about faith is that it is unseen.  We must believe that if we did our small part of planting the seed, that God will make it grow if the time is right and if God wills it to grow.  We must believe that there is something happening for the best even if we see no evidence.  How long does it take a seed to grow? Shall we water it over and over and over again like an impatient child because we don't see it growing?
I distinctly remember a time when I was a little girl looking at an unopened flower on a plant.  I wanted the flower to open up so that I could see what it looked like.  My mother told me to leave it alone because it would bloom on its own at the right time.  Not wanting to wait for time to pass, I grabbed the flower myself and peeled back the petals.  Much to my disappointment, there was no beauty to be seen from my intervention--only a wilted mess. And this is what happens when we take our good intentions and do not leave the rest to God.  This is what happens when we want to see what we want to see right now because we are being proud believing we know when things need to happen.  God asks us to do certain things, but God also wants us to do everything in faith. 

As soon as I realized that I was not praying out of faith, I asked God to forgive me for it. "When the time is right," is the answer I heard, "For now, you do what you know is right and leave the rest to me." Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord desires of you: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Love, forgive, be kind to all, bless those who are cruel to you--these are the things that most please the Lord.