Monday, November 13, 2006

Confused and heavy-hearted

The day ended - a little confused, and heavy-hearted.

Had an invitation. Will I go and come out stronger? Or go and come out more affected? I don't know. To go or not to go? If God can give me an answer, tell me what I should do.

What will be the outcome?

An article from

What Is Prayer?
by Anna Aven Howard

When I was seventeen, I visited England with my family. One day we visited Leeds Castle in the south of England. In the castle garden was a maze that was completely fashioned out of hedges. Now these hedges were about nine feet tall, three feet wide, and extremely healthy, which meant that seeing through them was nearly impossible. The object of the maze was to get from the entrance to the center, which was a mound of sorts that you could see from outside the maze, but once you were inside, you couldn't see enough of it to tell what direction you should be going.

My brother and I had to try this maze, so we eagerly launched into the thick of it and carefully began testing which of the many twistings and turnings was the proper way to get through the maze. We tried every trick we could think of, including leaving small twigs on the paths that we had already discovered to be dead ends, but somehow we kept ending up in one corner of the maze.

After a number of failed attempts to get out of this corner and ending up right back where we started, we noticed that there was a gardener who was trimming the hedges just outside of where we were. Through a small hole in the bushes, we asked him for directions. He gave us specific turn-by-turn directions, and within minutes we were standing on top of the mound at the center, feeling triumphant even though we couldn't have conquered the maze without help. Standing on top of the mound was another guy who had just climbed to the top, but his friends were still down in the maze. He called out, got their attention, and then started telling them how to get from where they were to the center, because he could see which turns were dead ends and which would take them out of the maze.

This is a lot like following God. God is like the gardener who knew the maze inside and out because he worked with it every day, and like the guy who was helping his friends because he'd already been where they were and knew what he was talking about. God knows this world inside and out because he created it. And he knows what living life is like because he's already been here, lived life, and has personally experienced the exact same kinds of stuff that we deal with every day. So it makes a lot of sense to pray and ask him for guidance and intervention in our own lives.

Why God intervenes in some situations and not in others is a question that we will probably never be able to answer on this side of heaven (at least on a situation-by-situation basis). However, if we can see that God has a pattern of absolute justice throughout Scripture—and it does support this idea quite well—then since God also never changes (Numbers 23:19-20; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17), then I have to conclude that he continues to be just and to work out his purposes for our best for he is perfect in knowledge and is always with us and watching us.

When I was in seminary, one of my professors (Colin Brown) said that the idea of prayer is to align us with the will of God. I think this is a great answer to why God does not always seem to answer prayer. He moves in keeping with his purposes. As we do not know what those purposes are until he reveals them, we do not always pray in line with them; so he sometimes answers 'no'. I would say that God actually does always answer prayer; it’s just that we don't like to take 'no' for an answer.

God sees the big picture, and we must trust, based on his attributes, that he is going to work for the best. To quote Dr. Brown, "Prayer is one of God's appointed ways of getting things done in the world." Prayer is built into God's will for how the universe is to work.

Prayer not only moves us in line with the will of God, but it invites God's will to come and be done in our lives. The prayer of "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done" in our lives is necessary.

Thought of the day:
I don't know how strong I can be. But I know I'm still in pain.

No comments: