I ask, he delivers
One of the things I am learning as I grow up and consider things more closely, is that God, as promised by Jesus in Matthew 7:7, will provide you with what you ask for.
It's true that God is not a vending machine, ready to dole out Snickers when you get a hankering. And there are times He gives you something better, while, technically, you didn't get what you and your limited imagination asked for. But who complains about better?
There are times you don't get what you want when you want it. You get it, in human terms, 'too late.' You might get annoyed with God, or blame yourself, but these situations work out for the best if you can be patient, trust Him, and know that He heard your prayer, every single time.
I was writing my prayers this morning, as I try to do every day. I find that if I pray in my head, I am easily and totally distracted. And I feel funny praying out loud, which I realize is a 'me' problem. God's fine with hearing from me any old way as long as it is with passion, humility, faith and trust in Him. It need not be perfect, and it need not be in a particular formal format. Just honest and real.
Anyway, this morning I was typing my needs, one of which was words. Not for Him or me. Ultimately, I am writing these prayers for me, since God already knows my needs, wants and worries, and is working on the prayers before I know to pray them. But given that I hadn't posted here in a while, because I had nothing worthy to say, I asked Him for words. I wanted to find a way to minister and help bring people to Christ in a way that I could be effective.
In this case, His answer was immediate and clear. I just typed it:
"Lord, I am looking for words that will bring believers to you, and to stay with you. It seems to me that many are denying you because of ego or pride, or some earthly need to have a certain kind of 'proof' as to your ultimate power and glory. Like they get to tell you what ‘documents’ they require for 'authentication.'
"My thought is that you want us to trust you and you’re not looking for us to solve anything, directly. You simply want us to believe and follow you and in so doing, save our sinning selves and bring us to an everlasting perfect place when we die.
"For me, the most compelling message about hesitation to accept you was when Pastor Rick added to his prayer, ‘I don’t understand it all, but I want to follow you and become more like you…’ Because waiting to fully understand you is waiting forever, and we don’t have that kind of time.
"Another idea I have is to say, okay, suppose you’re right, and God is not there. On what or whom will you depend? And on the other hand, what if you’re wrong and God is indeed all-powerful, and merely wants you to accept His promise of eternal life for your belief? And suppose you maintained your intellectual distance and did not accept his promises and commit to worship Him?
"The costs of our wrong decision are merely eternal damnation and separation from anything good. How sure are you? I bet if you really think about the importance of this decision and your uncertainty, you might hedge your bets. At least when the decision is one of our normal, earthly decisions, which have more understandable, manageable and measurable consequences.
"Maybe they need to understand that this is different from deciding where to live or what to have for dinner. Though the effects of this decision may not be immediately evident, the importance of making the right choice is eternal. The stakes are higher than any other we face in a decision in our lifetime."
I don't include this as a suggestion that I have any unusual skills or abilities. I only include it as an example of how the Lord provides us with what we need. It didn't hurt, in this instance, that I wanted to use the gift to help convince others to believe. (If I prayed for the repeated humiliating losses for the Yankees or Canadiens, I would not have complete alignment with God's will, so they might win now and then. But I digress.)
The takeaways here are two:
1. If you don't pray, you should. You will get what you want much more often, and when you don't, you will usually get something better. Trust and faith.
Also, if you don't like to pray silently, type it, write it in a notebook, sing a song or mime or do an interpretive dance if that's your thing. In real life, He hears your prayer and works on it, but He is delighted with our efforts to talk to Him and express our faith in Him.
2. If you have not accepted Jesus as your savior, you should absolutely do that too. As laid out above, there is no risk in accepting Him, while the reward of acceptance is beyond our wildest imagination.
The risk of holding back is also beyond our ability to quantify. Since we can't fully imagine the delights of a heavenly eternity, we likewise can't fully grasp the unending horror of an eternity in hell. The latter is your risk if you insist that our human knowledge is too great to allow for something as nebulous as 'faith.'
There is no shortage of skeptical, highly-educated people who have, nonetheless, accepted Jesus Christ, even as they seek more and more knowledge of the world, it's history and the sciences that have formed and developed it. God welcomes their questions, and will answer them in His perfect timing and in His perfect way, so that you understand. Given that they are saved, and will spend eternity in heaven, the Lord will have plenty of time to explain it all.
Thank you for reading. Share if you wish, with anyone you like. Reply with comments, suggestions and questions if you like.
God bless you!