How many times have we gone to God with our shopping list of requests? I know I am far more guilty of that than I care to admit. We tend to vent, to dump, to whine and to complain. . We give lists disguised as “requests” and take them back because either it’s not answered how we want or worse the Sovereign God of Heaven and Earth, insist on doing things on His timetable and not ours. Yet, I wonder how many times, me included, have we truly been thankful.
Years ago, my brother-in-law told a story about how he had a flat tire. The perfect opportunity to whine and complain to God right? But – he made a choice. Instead of griping about the one flat tire, he praised God for the 3 inflated one. Changed his whole outlook of a negative situation. Granted, most of our life experiences are more intense than a flat tire. I have had my share of heart breaking tragedies and trials. Many of which, I truly do not wish for anyone to experience. You know those ones. The ones that where that age old saying and now popular Kelly Clarkson song says “That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger” and you secretly pray for death instead of endurance? Yet even that is a common attitude – just look in the Psalms. . Psalm 116:3 even says this,
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
We want instant relief, immediate answers, sometimes escape all on our terms. I’m 49 years old and have been a Christian 40 years and so far – God hasn’t answered a prayer according to my terms and I’m okay with that.
A few years ago, I had an epiphany during the sermon, not the one based on the Christian season of time between the Advent and Christmas. I’m talking about the “A-ha” moment. My husband, the pastor, taught about God’s glory and part of the scripture was from Psalms 119: 89, where a portion says: Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. He shared that this psalm was written in a time of adversity and after every line of deliverance God brought His people from, they stated His love endures forever. That is when the moment hit me. If the Israelites could do that back in Bible days, why can’t I do that??
I came home and took out my prayer journal (one of several) and began looking over some of the past and present requests I’ve made unto the Lord and added that phrase after it – His love endures forever.
2001 – Dear Lord – help me guide the doctor’s hands as I have surgery next week. His love endures forever.
2003 – Lord – help find the right school for me to teach in and grant me patience in the waiting. His love endures forever.
2006 -Lord – help my baby girl in this battle she’s in at school. Give us wisdom. His love endures forever.
2009 – Be with Daniel at school and everything involved with moving away from home. His love endures forever.
2011 -Take these painful migraines away. His love endures forever.
2011 –Lead us in closing our church and lead us in finding a new church home. His love endures forever.
2012 – Be with my Beth as she too goes away to college and calm my heart. His love endures forever.
There are seemingly millions more instances, but those are the biggies. It puts a new light on the subject because He has either graciously answered the prayers or we’re still on His timetable. Either way – it is a pretty good place to be because regardless, we’re in the center of His will and not ours. Try it in prayer – add that phrase after your prayer request and realize you are in the center of His hands and the shelter of His wing.