Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Trembling and Trusting (and Waiting)

In Luke 18:1-5, we are told about an unjust judge who answers the pleas for justice from a woman even though initially he will not hear. Jesus said this to those of us that grow weary in prayer and waiting on answers. In Matt 15:22-28, we are told about a Canaanite woman who asked for only the crumbs that fall from the Master's table have been rejected by Jesus as a Gentile dog. Jesus also says that we can move mountains in Mark 11:23, that is, if we do not doubt. In Acts 16:6-7, we are told that Paul and Silas were not permitted to go here and there. Surely they were seeking God in prayer, and He answered. God answers prayer.

These are nice answers, positive answers, happy endings, but that is not always the case. Time would fail to tell of the prayers unanswered in the fashion plead for; of martyrs who didn't seek death, but didn't escape it; and so on, seemingly endless. Sometimes it's the prayers that are unanswered that make the deepest marks upon us.

So, what are you to do if you keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking, but silence seems to be the answer you receive. We tend to then rely on human wisdom (ours or someone else's) to determine what might be the best way. We are warned against this in an oft quoted scripture - "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;" Proverbs 3:5. Some of us stagnate and wait without doing anything. Some of us look for the easiest route. Some of us keep on rolling, figuring that something is better than nothing. Sometimes we let our mind play tricks on us and overthink everything, trying to read God's signs into everything. Keep praying, don't lose heart!

I have been struggling with a huge burden, an answer that I need. It has consumed much of my prayer life for months now, and I still wait. I wish I had answers to give you who are in a similar position. God will complete the good work He has begun in me, Philippians 1:6. I know that He will order my steps, Proverbs 16:9. Proverbs 3:6 says to acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your paths. We are told to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure, Philippians 2:12-13. So we tremble and trust. We tremble with Isaiah's words from Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left." We trust because we know that God is working all things after the counsel of His will, Ephesians 1:11.

In short, I think that the bible does instruct on what to do, but guarantees nothing except that we are loved of God beyond what we can imagine; that He is good and wise and sovereign; and that nothing can separate us from Him if we are believers. We are supposed to keep praying; be specific, don't doubt. We are supposed to fast, to seek God more earnestly (not supposing that this obligates Him). Drown yourself in the Word, in preaching/teaching, and in godly books. Raise up a group of believers to pray with you and for you. We are to seek the counsel of the godly around us. Then we trust and tremble, knowing that our waiting on God is not wasted time.

Andrew Murray said:

If any are inclined to despond, because they do not have such patience, let them be of good courage. It is in the course of our feeble and very imperfect waiting that God Himself, by His hidden power, strengthens us and works out in us the patience of the great saints, the patience of Christ Himself.

I guess I just needed to preach to myself. Maybe it helped you as well. If you could pray for me, please do. Thanks for reading, thanks for praying!

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