Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Careful What You Pray For

Everything about my life seems to go in spurts. I reread, for the 647th time, "Destined For the Throne" by Paul E. Billheimer.  It reignited a deep yearning within me to go to greater depths in my walk with the Lord, as it always does which is why, even though I have books stacked everywhere and my reading list is a mile long, I reread that book often. I spent several days worth of my prayer time pouring my heart out to the Lord, telling Him how much I want to know Him, how desperately I want to come to a place of such surrender and obedience that His life in me is evident to everyone I encounter. I declared my singular allegiance. And I meant every word of it.

I guess I sort of expected accolades from heaven, answers to my prayers, or revelation from the Word.  Instead, all hell broke loose.

I can't even describe it.  Multiplied frustrations. Staggering disappointments. Someone closest to me saying something that devastated me. That pesky negative thinking cycle. All of it left me feeling downright depressed, discouraged and demoralized.

It's really been a hard few weeks. And there is no end in sight. After spending days in the "poor, poor, pitiful me" cycle, it was like the Lord shook me and said, "You need to stop moping. I'm just answering your prayer."  

"What?!" I yelled in my head, "I want to be close to You, not frustrated and demoralized wondering where You are when I have such passion to know You!"

But suddenly, everything started to make sense. The way we draw close to the Lord is through trials! The way we learn to trust Him is by clinging to Him! The way our faith grows is by having to exercise it!  The way we surrender is by acknowledging our own inadequacies. And I realized the Lord was only allowing opportunities for me to do just that. Draw close, pour my heart out, exercise faith. Trust Him despite the circumstances. Realize how poor is spirit I truly am. Cling to the truth and not the lies.

At that point all I could do was laugh! And give thanks. Thanks that He hears and answers my prayers. Thanks that He loves me enough to take me through hard stuff, confusing stuff, hurtful stuff so I can better learn the sufficiency of Christ in all things. Thanks that He is using this life to prepare me to rule and reign with Him throughout all eternity! From that perspective, everything looks much different. 

As someone much wiser than me once said, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  James 1:2-4

The Message puts it this way: "Consider it a sheer gift, my friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so that you are mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."

Amen. Thank you Lord, for loving me enough to grow me up in You.