You know those times when you’re praying with all your heart that God would fix a certain something in your life? Not that one time, that one night that you asked for it. I am talking about months, sometimes years, of the same pleading prayer in asking for God to heal, give, or take something away. But he doesn’t respond. As a matter of fact, things get worse. It is as if he does not hear you at the moment and chooses to let what is happening continue to occur despite the reality that it is haunting your very soul. Night after night after week after year you ask in hope that maybe just maybe he’ll finally save the day like you learned in Sunday School class. However, each night you get nothing. You’re left lying down in bed wondering. Funny, in times like these I’m reminded of when Jesus claims that all we need is ‘the faith of a mustard seed….’ But as I pray I can pretty much guarantee that my faith in that moment is at least the size of an medium-sized orange; and I’m yelling for God to please come into the picture and help! I mean, why would he constantly not?
It’s very frustrating when you know theology and scripture well because you then, inadvertently, answer you own “why God, why” questions. My conscious likes to arrogantly tell my heart, “That’s easy, just wait on the Lord and remember his sovereignty…read Romans 8 and 9 dude.” Now as beautiful and true as those verses are, NOTHING in me wants to listen to them in those moments, they are too painful and too hard hear. This is why the Apostle Paul is such an enigma to me. For a single man to suffer as he did in a plethora of ways and keep moving forward…the Spirit must have been strong in him. Good gosh the man was beaten, flogged over and over again, hunted down by cities and countries, periodically went through starvation, sometimes did not have clothes to wear, was stressed out by churches going crazy, shipwrecked 3 times (4 if you count being lost at sea), almost died on numerous occasions, had a physical ailment allotted by God, and never even really had a place to call “home”. On top of that, a snake randomly bit him. Really??? Talk about a rough season. I wonder how many nights he spent sobbing. I wonder how much joy he was divinely able to attain by the grace given to him by God. You know there had to be a ton of both. Oh to see Paul’s face right now as he’s living it up in Heaven.
I wish we were all more open as a people. More of a family. The Internet was brought in to make everything and everyone more accessible and closer. Instead, much of what it has done is make us more superficial, taken the depth out of our relationships, and turn us closer into recluses. This makes us more prone to always act as if we’re “ok” in front of others…when on the inside we are secretly crumbling and drowning underwater. All the while, we’re smiling and not saying a thing, “as long as someone retweets me I’m happy.” Satan is soooo sneaky there and he is not stopping anytime soon. It hurts when you see the fruit of his schemes. Especially when those exact fruits are somehow eaten by the people you care about. If believers in Christ were more honestly open and unified as a people the power and boldness from that alone would overwhelmingly change the world. The Bible and secular history attests to this over and over again, but we miss it. We miss it. We.continually.miss.it.
For example, in Acts 19 the Gospel enters the city of Ephesus and immediately changes the entire socioeconomic climate throughout the city. Riots began to break out because those that were still doing evil were no longer getting paid their dirty money. We can look at history as well. If you have time, please look up “The Welch Revival”. Hundreds of thousands of people in the country of Wales were saved and the entire culture at large was a family. No crime no worries… just peace, worship, joy, and love in the Lord. When are we going to start believing in the strength of the Gospel and our unity as believers and stop giving in to societal norms? We need to start. The quicker we do so the more joy there is to have. I must keep praying because I know he’s listening. Prayers for things in my life, those around me, and for the world. God constantly has me thinking about these things for some reason and I do not know why. But I’ll ask until he answers, as I know he will in his time. Because even when it seems like he has not listened to any of my particular prayers….I know he has and cares more than I do. He even knows what I am going to say before I pray. My faith has to be in that eternal being there. I long for the day that the earth will be filled with the knowledge and the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
[Other verses used-Habakkuk 2:14, Acts 17:24-28, Luke 17:6, 2 Corinthians 11:23-31, Philippians 1:27,28]