I didn’t realize it was setting in. But I guess that can happen after hoping and praying for the same thing for so long. Though I hadn’t really been praying about it, earnestly. That’s something He keeps speaking to me about, again and again. So I press in to pray for a little while, and then I lose hope again. Because there hasn’t really been an answer. Only the plea to keep giving it to Him, in trust. To press in, pray, and to hope
That is a perfectly good request from a perfectly good Daddy. It’s the best thing we can do when there’s no visible next-steps. But sometimes, I just want to know how. I want to know when. I want to tell Him just how I think He should work everything out, though I know that might not be His plan. In the end, I don’t really know what to ask for, so I always come back to praying this: “Your Will, not mine. Your Ways are higher”. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this prayer. Because no matter what we think would be best, God knows, and He promises to work all things for our good. He promises that His plans are to prosper us, and never to harm us. He promises to give us hope and a future. (Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11) But, we can do so much more than just ask for His Will to be done, clueless to what His Will might be.
“8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
When we don’t know what to pray, we are discouraged, overwhelmed, or if we are doing great, we first of all need to recognize that He is sovereign. He knows and sees everything, and He has control, with our very best in mind. We have to rest in that fact, fully trusting in Him. Even when we don’t feel it, deep down, we can know it. Because He loves us, and we have all seen Him work in our own lives and in others’. We’ve seen His Faithfulness, Salvation, and the way He lights up the dark. Maybe we just need to ask Him to remind us.
10 ”As the rain and snow come down from Heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is My Word that goes out from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s Renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” – Isaiah 55:8-13 NIV
God’s Word is powerful. It’s living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12) When we read it, and speak it, and store it in our hearts and minds, things change. It doesn’t return to His Ears empty; It accomplishes the purpose He spoke It for. He wrote It for us. It gives sustenance, fulfillment, and becomes our rock to stand on in this world of quicksand.
His Word brings us joy and peace through the circumstances that are less than perfect. It restores, growing strong trees where thorns and weeds have stood. And all of this for His Renown, as an everlasting sign to all people of Who He Is, and what He does.
Besides trusting in God, praying for His Will, and meditating on His Word, He tells us to pray. Even though He already knows everything we need and want, He wants us to tell Him. And when we do, like little kids presenting their Christmas lists, we need to be expectant to receive.
“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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Of 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 NIV
This passage has been one of my favorites to stand on, because I know that it’s true. Even when I’m waiting on Him to answer. I know that He’s a Good Father who gives only good things to His children, but I also know that those good things aren’t always what we ask for. We just have to rest in this, that His Plans are so much better and higher and wider than we can even imagine. And looking back, I think we are all able to see how each difficult situation we walked through was turned around for our benefit, or that each time we were refused something good was to give us something better.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
This is an impossible task. Even the most optimistic people aren’t always rejoicing, the most powerful prayer-warriors don’t sit in their prayer-closets all day, and some circumstances don’t seem worthy of us thanking God for. When we think of it this way, that we have to do all of this stuff, we feel condemned. But we have to understand those last three words, “in Christ Jesus”. We need to be living in Jesus, and Him through us. We need to have that relationship with Him, abiding in Him. (John 15:1-17) Without Him, we have nothing; but in Him, we have every reason to be thankful. He is why we rejoice, pray, and give thanks. He is our reason for living.
So let’s remember these 6 things: trust in our good God, pray for His Will, meditate on His Word and Truths, present our needs and honesty to Him, seek Him, and live in Him. And when we aren’t feeling thankful, let’s ask God to remind us of everything He has done for us, on that cross, and then throughout our lives. Look, and see all that He’s done for you. Then, we can look ahead with hope. Because nothing is impossible with our God.