Sunday, September 17, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Between Prayers Asked and Prayers Answered
"I don't like the look of this eye." That is what my eye specialist said to me this past week as he was looking at the photo of the inside of my retina. It was not what I wanted to hear for my vision had cleared a little so I was hoping that meant a full recovery soon.
As I was sitting in the chair with all the modern equipment surrounding it, my thoughts went back 2,000 years to when Jesus healed the blind man but the first attempt left him seeing people looking like trees and total healing came on the second attempt. My right eye is a little like that first attempt as I can see shadows, colors, etc. but I still cannot see details.
I think we spend a lot of our life between that time of prayers asked and prayers answered. The old timers often called it "God's waiting room". Been there. Set up housekeeping there at one time. I'm certain those are the same magazines from ten years ago.
When I was a young Christian, a popular teaching was that one should ask God only once for anything or it would be a lack of faith. I soon learned that is ridiculous and not at all Biblical. The Bible is full of His people asking Him over and over again. Even Jesus talked about the unrighteous judge and how the widow finally wore him down to answer her request.
God is far from being like that judge. He not only loves us but He is love incarnate. Because He made us, He also knows just how we learn and how we grow and how we know Him better.
Unlike the unrighteous judge, God in His infinite wisdom lets us wait not because He is a cranky unwilling ruler but we wait because He knows it is in the process of waiting that we grow in our faith.
Faith is like a muscle and the more it is used, the stronger it gets. Which is why you rarely find a child with great faith (although they can have great hope) but many of His people who are now elderly, who have walked with Him and never gave into bitterness, who never stopped trusting Him... they have the faith of giants.
For they have been there and walked through the valley of the shadow of death with Him. They have prayed in their next meal and the gas money needed to get to work. They have sat beside a child all night with a raging fever and placed cold compresses on their forehead and watched as the fever reduced and the prayer was answered.
For every person of great faith, there are those who gave up way too soon. Who became angry with God (not temporarily as most of us do but forever and ever), who became weary in the battle, who failed because they did not run to the Lord when they were weak but instead listened to the voice of the enemy.
God did not answer their prayer in their time period or as they had asked. Sometimes God makes us wait but sometimes His answer is... no. He has something else for you and while you may not understand this side of Eternity, He always has your best in each answer.
The Bible tells us all kinds of stories of prayers asked long before prayers were answered. Daniel was told by Michael, the archangel, that his answer was delayed by spiritual warfare with the Prince of Persia.
We know Martha and Mary were more than a little peeved with Jesus because he didn't show up before Lazarus died but Jesus knew their prayers would still be answered... only in a miraculous way that would make the pages of His Book!
Much of the time in God's Word and in human history, there is a time between asking and receiving that was due to God's timing or His ultimate plan for each person. These are the times in our own lives where we can look back and often see God's weaving together of circumstances.
Since it seems we rarely have just one opportunity to trust God at any given time of our life... and quite often multiple trials no matter now small surround us... we will most likely be in that state between asking and receiving the rest of our life. How we choose to walk during that time will determine the kind of person we become and how others will view our walk with Christ.
As for me and this trial, I'm still praying for a full recovery of sight in that eye. Whether it comes through medicine or the miraculous, I don't care. I just desire it very much. In the meantime, I'm doing the best I can to read and blog and cook and clean, etc. Soon I'll share a funny story about cooking with blurred vision.
There is one book that I'm working my way through right now, a little at a time, stopping when my head hurts from eye strain. That is my friend, Sally Clarkson's, new book called The Life Giving Table. I love love love this book. It even has lots of good recipes. I will be writing a full in depth review soon but I'm including the pre-order link today. It is worth my taking a couple of Excedrin to read.
Once again, I've proofread as much as possible, please forgive unseen typos. Blogging right now is doing the best I can even if that is far from perfect. :)
Mentioned in This Post
The Life Giving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting One Meal at a Time, info... here.
Scripture: Mark 8:22-25, Daniel 10: 12-14, John 11:20-44
Disclaimer: Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links. I thank you.