does god answer prayers

Category : Matthew, different, faith, fear, living a life of faith, trust

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks,  the door will be open.  Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7: 7-11)

Sometimes I think that just because I ask God for something I should get it.  And when I don’t, I’m shocked.  “How can God not answer my prayers?!” I cry out.  But as I read the story of Israel, I have to wonder, is that what’s really happening?

I’ve talked about how the trip to the Promised Land was only an 11 day trek.  Yet it took the Israelites 40 years to make it.  Why?  Not because God hadn’t answered their prayers of salvation (he had, even though they constantly doubted).  But because God knew that if the Israelites went directly to the Promised Land they would have been destroyed by what they found.

As it turns out it was the struggle of the journey that allowed them to become strong enough to enter the Promised Land.  It was their suffering which strengthened them.  It was their growing relationship with God that allowed them to have the faith necessary.  And once they were ready, or perhaps I should say, only when they were ready, did God open that door.

If Israel had avoided the disaster of 40 years in the wilderness, they would have experienced complete destruction at the hands of their enemies.  We are so quick to assume that God has abandoned us, when we don’t know all the facts.

The band, Since October has a song called disaster that really drives this home:

thank God for disaster
disaster and tears
thank God for my reasons
my reasons to fear
every time that I’ve lost it all and death is calling me
i understand this is what saved my life again

It is hard for me to remember that God often says “yes”, but it takes time for that “yes” to become a reality.  Living in a world of “lose 6 pounds in 6 days” and Instant Ramen Noodles it is hard for me to be patient.  I don’t like to wait for things.  But as the Israelites learned, sometimes waiting is the only way to get where you want to go.

Perhaps I should spend less time whining to God, and more time trusting and believing in God.  Perhaps I should spend less time avoiding problems, and more time thanking God for disaster.

prayer thursday: helplessness

Category : choice, faith, live for the eternal, prayer thursday

  

I have now reached 5 days without power, and I have to admit, I’m a little cranky.  Living without power has really forced me to consider a few things as I mentioned earlier.  But the most pressing is being caught between feelings of helplessness and “in the overall scheme of things this isn’t a big deal.”  Depending when you ask me, I’m either irritated or I’ll simply shrug my shoulders and say, “who cares?”  As a wise friend said the other day, “this storm reminds me that there is a God, and I am not him.”

helplessness

God - I’m confused.  Part of me feels helpless.  I can’t get into a rhythm with my life.  My routines are destroyed, and I find that I draw a lot of comfort from those routines.  Maybe that’s wrong.  Maybe I need to draw more comfort from you, and less from what I do with my time.  But I admit, not all of me feels helpless.  Part of me feels perfectly calm, because I know that none of these problems really matter.  Who cares if I can’t watch TV for a week?  Who cares if I had to throw away all my food?  What does it matter if I need to burn candles instead of flip a switch?  You tell us to not worry, because it won’t add a day to our lives.  And that if the flowers of the field don’t worry about clothing, we shouldn’t worry about our situations – because you already know what we need.

I know that there are people in worse shape than me.  But I still find myself being selfish.  I seem to be caught jumping from one extreme to the other.  And I feel guilty about that.  Help me to center myself on you.  Help this storm, this irritation, become something that draws me closer to you. 

Pull me closer Lord, pull me closer.

 <comments are open, feel free to add your own prayer for people who are currently living without power, both here and abroad>