Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Hardest Prayer of All Time

Sometimes in life you come to a place where what is required of you to reach the next level means doing something that doesn't make sense to you; something that goes against your nature and desires. If you don't let go, you can't move on, but letting go seems so frightening. Imagine yourself having fallen over a cliff and hanging over a ravine. You are suspended only by a vine protruding from a rocky crag. Someone above you is extending their hand to pull you up, but you have to release the vine. Every cell in your body is screaming, "Don't let go!!!", but the only way to truly be saved is to grab the hand. How do you find the strength to let go?

That image has played in my mind this week as I find myself being challenged to pray the hardest prayer of all time. It is a prayer that people throughout the ages have struggled with. Jesus himself was distraught as he prayed it. The control freak in me has a really hard time saying it. What is it you ask? "Not my will but yours." There I said it. Do you have a hard time with it, too?

I don't know about you, but I have such definite plans in my mind of what I want God to do. Currently, I want a miracle. I want to be completely healed of  The Nuisance with a certificate of warranty that says it will never come back. I want no more Power Aid or radiation. That is what I am praying every day. The bible encourages me to pray those prayers boldly, which let me tell you, I am! But I also have to recognize that I am hanging over the side of a cliff, holding onto a vine. I may not have the best view of what it takes to get me to the safety. The one who can see most clearly is the one looking down from above with an outstretched hand. So again I am left to wonder, "How do I find the strength to let go?"

It helps to know my rescuer. If I know and trust the character and strength of the person saving me from the cliff, it becomes easier to let go of the vine and reach for the hand. The same is true when it comes to my prayers. If I know and trust the character and strength of God, then I can trust that He is willing and able to save me, that His judgement of what is best for me is sound. He may ask me to do something that doesn't match my desire, but it will have a better long term outcome.

How do I know I can trust His character? Because time after time, he has given me more than I could want for myself. Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." He is able to do immeasurably more. How do I know? Because He has in my life. When Rodney and I decided we wanted to start our family, I began to pray. One night I was at church early. No one else was there. I went to the altar and knelt. I prayed for God to bless us with a baby.  One month later, I knew that He had. Five months later I learned that not only had he given me the desire of my heart, but he doubled it. He gave me twins. I know God can do more than I ask because He has.

But I don't trust His character just because He has given me yes answers. I trust Him because sometimes He has told me no. There have been times I was certain I knew what was best for me--the right guy, the right job, the right solution to a problem.  God said no,  I let go, and down the line I discovered He had something better in store. IF I was willing to let go and trust Him. See, God won't impose His will on me. If I refuse to let go of my vine, He will honor that, but I will miss something better.

So I am at the place once again of following my requests with the hardest prayer of all, "Not my will, but yours, Lord."  Maybe you are on the vine, too.  I say to you what I say to myself. We can trust Him. If He doesn't answer our prayers the way we had in mind, it is because He has double blessings in store. Trust Him. Reach for the hand. Let's get off this vine.

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Anna,
    Ever since I learned about your nuisance and received the link to your Blog from Della, I want you to know I have been praying and following what God has inspired you to write. In addition, my family and our church family (specifically our Life Group) has been praying for you. Each week they ask how you are and how they can pray for you. Tonight I cried when I read your words. Tomorrow, I will be letting our faithful friends at First Church of the Nazarene know that you, Rodney, your family and your entire medical team need us to pray like we haven’t yet. And we will! And God will be listening, loving and answering – even before we petition Him! (Matthew 6:8)

    It’s time to let you know some things. I’ve wanted to comment before (but I haven’t) simply because when I read your writing, I see my Mom! :) And when I read what your Dad says in response to your experiences, I think of how much my Daddy was influenced by your precious Father and how grateful I am for Bill.

    I miss my parents so very much, still. It’s the single most painful experience that I have ever, ever had to endure. But, you have honored them in life and in your memory of them (when you didn’t have to) by simply sharing credit and noticing that their tiny sacrifice became an asset in your journey and a blessing in your life – which then began to ripple into the lives of others. If I haven’t said it before, I am saying it now…. Thank you for taking the time to bless me and others by reminding us of the simple gifts that God provides through neighbors and Girl Scout leaders and just people and all that they can be to and for one another. You do that for me. You and your sisters, cousin and parents did that for our family countless times….

    So, I must stop this (which is why I haven’t commented before. I tend to do this. I enjoy writing too but this isn’t my Blog! :) and get to the other purpose of responding to you!

    Speaking from my heart and echoing my parents who are cheering you on from heavenly realms ---- You will do this, ANNA! You are in God’s capable care! This last leg of the present race WILL BE VICTORIOUS--- In Jesus Name!

    Your Sister In Christ—
    Kristy Joy Tipton Cox