(Start date: April 11, 2017) I am reading in Ephesians - plodding along in this Bible reading, I am! I have been trying to read at least two to four chapters a morning. I'm not exactly sure why this is the route I am taking, only that it is. (Eh, we all have those weird things we do - just because!) However, this morning I was unable to get past chapter one. Have you ever read something over and over, at different times, and never really clicked with what you were reading? Kind of like high shool physics? My biggest Little is in Physics, this momma is so proud of her super smart-ness, but I absolutely have no ability to help her...I get the basics, what goes up must come down, yadda-yadda-yadda. It is through an understanding like that I think many of us read the Word. I know I do at times because I simply don't "get it" most of the time. Now, unlike Physics where I can take it or leave, choosing the later in my case, you kind of can't do that with scripture. (We'll get into that in a different post.) Which is why I am glad I chose to read on and not miss today's time in the Word.
Ephesians 1:11 says, "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will..."
Have you ever been chosen for something? Like a part in the school play? A spot on the school sports team? A fun project at work? You get where I am going with this. It feels good to be chosen for something. I mean, in those cases I bet it feels something like being on top of the world like you could do just about anything. As my biggest little would say, "I got this fam!" Now, what about being chosen for something a little less exciting. Have you ever been chosen to take the trash to the curb? Walk your brother or sister to the bus stop? To sort through 3 years of receipts to find the root cause of demurrage charges? (Ok, the last one may be personal!) Do you kind of notice how the first three sound like a lot of fun and the second three sound an awful lot like, well, work?
How does all of this play into answered prayers? I'm sure, like me, you have prayed for something. Perhaps you prayed for the part in the play, to be on the sports team, or even to be on the project team at work. In any fashion, we've all, at some point in time, prayed for an outcome - to get something, to get through something, to be something... Me, I'm no different. I wouldn't say I pray more or less than anyone else, only that I pray. Here's the thing today's scripture put into place for me about those prayers - God answers them. Each and every one of them. Yes, he does. Even those that don't seem to be answered, He answers them. Here is how I know.
Many years ago, long before I had Littles of my own, I used to pray and pray and pray for a family - someone to love me unconditionally. (Honestly, I prayed this long before I really knew who I was praying this to or the importance of my relationship with said person.) God didn't answer those prayers at that time, but a few years later I became a mom.
I have three daughters. Some may think that is a curse, but I believe it is a treasure. (Again, a post for another time.) However, each time I found out I was going to have a child (and even when I was praying for them to come - see above) I prayed and prayed for a boy. I am not certain why I felt this desire to only have a boy, but hey, I did. Each time I found out it was a girl, I wept. Terribly. I was going to miss out on football and dinosaurs and basketball and cowboys and baseball and monster trucks and....I think you get it. Then the Lord gave me two step-sons.
As a teenager and a young woman in my twenties, I prayed fervently for a man to love who was not only there for me but was my best friend. I wanted someone who I could talk with, spend time with, laugh with, enjoy life with, and so on. Early on, I didn't know enough to ask for a man who knew the Lord, I just knew I wanted a friend. I made mistakes with this, we all can. It took a lot of heartache and pain, some caused by me and some that happened to me. (Read the end of 2012 through the end of 2014 for the bulk of it.) But God has answered this prayer. More importantly, as I got into my thirties, this prayer changed to add in a man who loved and sought after the Lord. Mine does.
There are many more instances where I have prayed for something and it has come to pass, albeit in a manner I never would have thought, but I'm certain it is rooted in perfection - not mine, but His. Then there are prayers which have gone unanswered, in my eyes, but are true answers none-the-less. I suppose where I am going with this is that perspective is so much more necessary in the praying process than time. Time is a given, it will lapse regardless of your desire for it to do so, but perspective is something you have control of and it certainly helps to place that perspective through the lens of Word.
However, if time is something you'd rather control...I'm most certain there is a physics problem out there for that. ;)
Don't stop praying. He hears you. He loves you. He cares for you. He knows what is best for you. (Just so you know, I'm going to take a moment to head my own advice on this one.)