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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wisdom and Waves

If I've learned nothing else through my faith journey, I've learned this:  God answers prayers.  Sometimes dramatically, always consistently, He hears our prayers and answers them in wonderful, practical ways.  There was a time in there that I had gotten out of the habit of asking for things.  Not like "Please God, let me win the lottery" kinds of prayers.  God knows I'm better off NOT winning the lottery and therefore I don't even bother asking.  Rather practical, everyday prayers that most likely to fit into His plan and His will for my life.  Things like favor, blessings, energy, peace, joy, happiness and wisdom.

Let me pause for a moment on that last one.  Did you know that God will always give you wisdom if you ask for it?  Not nine times out of ten, ten times out of ten.  How do I know this?  Because it is in the Bible.  James 1:5 tells us:  "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."  It doesn't get clearer than that.  I spend so much useless time fretting over what I should do in any given situation.  How I should handle Baby Girl's latest meltdown?  Should I accept or decline an invitation or opportunity?  The list could go on and on.  Until recently, though, I had forgotten that, no matter what the circumstance or decision, I could give myself a time out, ask God for wisdom, and patiently wait for an answer.

This has never failed me.  NEVER.  The problem is when I doubt the answer and do it my own way anyway. Or when I fail to hit that pause button and act on impulse or emotion without waiting for that Holy Spirit nudging or that still small voice.  Then I get myself in trouble.  The book of James speaks to this too.  It says, "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."  Isn't that a great image for what we are like when we stress and don't trust?  We say to ourselves, "I should do this...but if I do this, then this will probably happen and then I won't get this other thing.  So, maybe I should do that.  But if I do that..."

Sound familiar?  It's pretty much been the modus operandi for me on any given day with any given set of circumstances for the majority of my life.  But we don't have to live like that.  God says we don't and I believe Him.

I hate it when James 1:6 is taken out of context, though.  Here we are talking about praying for wisdom.  For God to impart His wisdom to our hearts, to tell us the direction in which we should go or the words we should say.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we can make God do everything our way.  He always, always, always answers our prayers, but we have to accept that sometimes the answer is no.  It does not mean we shouldn't ask, just that we should be prepared for the answer.  This is a fine point but an important one.  We attended a church briefly where the general belief was that if Eddie continued to be sick, if we did not receive a radical, bodily healing, that it was from a lack of faith on our part.  It was from being a wave "tossed by the wind."

I believed with every fiber of my being that God could heal Eddie of every illness, every affliction...everything. That God could give him a full and happy adult life.  And God could have, but that was not His will.  My prayer, always, was for the healing, but it was with thanksgiving for the time I had already been given with my son and surrender to the ultimate will of God.  So when Eddie died (really the ultimate healing), I was bereft, but not destroyed.  My faith remained unshakeable, because I know my God.  And He is nothing but love.  So I could accept and go on with my life.

There is nothing wrong with asking.  Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, right before He knew He was going to be tortured, humiliated, and hung on a cross to die, prayed and asked God the Father to change the plan. He asked that there be another way.  That the cup would pass from Him.  But He added "thy will be done."  He accepted the will of God and that the horrible path ahead of Him was also the perfect path, the one that led to victory, not only for Him, but for every single one of us.

So tonight I'm praying for wisdom.  For God to sort through the desires of my heart and whisper to me which of them are within the scope of His will for my life and which of them I need to put aside.  Then I'm going to ask and I'm going to receive.  I'm going to knock and doors are going to be opened for me.  I'm seeking and I can't wait to see what I'm going to find.

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