Friday, May 29, 2009

Ask and Receive

Went to care group tonight. I wasn't really looking forward to it because I'd had such a weird experience at Next, and I knew all we'd be talking about was the conference. It turned out to be much more enjoyable than I expected and I actually felt confirmation that my experience was actually good... just different.

Three girls in the group shared essentially identical stories about personal encounters they'd had with God at the conference - each having dealt long and hard with serious physical ailments of one type or another. They felt distinctly that He was calling them to pray for healing, and all three responded in like manner with defiance. And at first you think, good grief woman, it's just prayer. But it's a prayer they've prayed over and over for a long time, with differing degrees of faith or doubt that He will have the grace to free their bodies from the malady, always to be sent away with good things... none of them being the healing they'd asked for. This is not a simple request but an issue of "I don't want to put forth the kind of faith in You to grant my request that it will take just to ask, only to be disappointed again." His response? "This is a pride issue, this resistance to obedience. I may never heal you, but I've asked you to pray. I want you to trust that my desire is to bless you."

This is something I've struggled with as well. Not physically - God has blessed me with really a rather remarkable body. No allergies, diabetes, asthma, etc. Nothing was malformed from birth. No serious damage since birth. All five senses are in working order. My facial features are at least tolerable. My voice isn't unpleasant to listen to. I'm not unusually short or tall, skinny or fat. No chronic pain. No skin disorders or even unusually bad acne. No cancer. I'm very regular. Basically, to my knowledge, everything works the way it's supposed to. I'm finding more and more that that's really rare. If it weren't for that, I'd feel awfully unimpressive for all my normalness. Even my brain is significantly more functional than that of many people in the world. But we all find something to complain about, I guess. Yet we don't want to pray about it:

God's given me so much already. I don't really need this.
I've asked for this before, and He said no.
He knows everything; He knows I want this. Why bring it up?
I've quieted my heart to this; praying for it will only stir discontent in my heart.

This morning, I read Mark 11: 24: "Therefore, I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for - believe that you have received them, and you will have them." So you read that and you think back to Sunday school where they tell you, "Now, you can't read this and think that just because you pray for a red Camaro that God will give it to you," write it off and keep reading.

But something I've had going in the back of my mind... nothing like a word from the Lord, "YOU MUST PRAY FOR THIS NOW, JESSICA," but just musings, half assuming that it's just cuz it's stuff I want and I just selfishly want to ask for it...: it's still communion with God. It's still taking the time to spend time and improve the relationship through conversation. Coming to Him to have your needs and desires met. It's become increasingly difficult as I've gotten older to admit to God or myself that I have desires... in fact, I spend my days trying to forget about them for various reasons. But it's an act of faith. It forces you to exercise trust and gives you the opportunity to see Him work in a personal way.

It was already on my heart. Then three testimonies. Quiet time. Oh, and you know the name of the company I started working for on Wednesday? Take a look at the title of the post and you'll see it. Maybe this IS my word from the Lord. It's just... I have a hard time praying sincerely for stuff I know I don't NEED. (which... really, is everything ever, since I'm already saved) I don't want to put my heart in a potentially dangerous place. And quite frankly, I'm not a big fan of hope when it comes to stuff like this.

Who knows, maybe what I need is to be in a place where I'm waiting for an answer so that God can tell me "No" and I'll actually HEAR it. Then at least I'll have that answer and can move on.

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