Today I’d like to circle back to the post where I wrote about it feeling like the Lord had forgotten you, and talk about how we begin to make our plans. Do we strategize all by ourselves, then ask the Lord to bless the plans? Is the Lord our starting point? Or have we made Him just one last step before we run off and do whatever we want?
A Short Story
I recently was listening to a sermon where the Pastor told an interesting story about a couple he wed and still personally knows quite well. I have added my own storytelling skills to make the story more delicious!
There was this woman, who was God-fearing, kind, and very much ready for marriage. Tired of being single, but with no forthcoming prospects, she asked God to please reveal her husband. As she sat in church that day, the Lord asked her to look out the window. Hesitant at the odd request, she looked out the window. She was expecting to see a dashing young man saunter past the church gates, or drive in with a nice car.
After a while, she said, “well, Lord, I do not see anyone coming in or out of the gate.”
The Lord said to her “Are you looking closely enough?”
She looked once again, and soon afterwards she turned to the Lord and said “Lord, are you trying to tell me that you have not called me to marriage? Will I be single all my life?”
The Lord laughed, and heaved a deep sigh.
“No, my child” he said “that man sitting by the gate is your husband.”
The only man sitting at the gate was the security man.
Because she asked for it, and the Lord responded, she decided to speak with the security man. She discovered that the man had gained some level of education, but was forced to drop out of school because he lacked the funds to continue.
After much more conversation, and a relationship somewhere there, she sponsored his education to a higher level, he graduated and today, the pastor concluded, the couple is very happily married.
It doesn’t matter what you feel about this story, the most important take away is the fact that the lady came to God with an open mind, and a willing heart, and the Lord met her request. Sure, it didn’t happen quite as expected, but at the end of the day, she’s in a happy marriage with the man of her dreams.
My thoughts on the story.
Isaiah 1:19 says “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the Land.”
The good of the land is there for the taking, but the only prerequisites are that we are willing and obedient. Unfortunately, we very often make our plans in reverse. We design elaborate goals and then we inform the Lord and demand His blessings. Sure, the Lord will bless your plans and prosper the works of your hands, but how about you let Him take you on the adventure that He desires for you?
Sometimes when we’re sitting and waiting on the Lord, it may seem to the world that we’re lazy and simply waiting for things to fall into our hands. But that’s wrong.
At the risk of sounding legalistic, I must mention that the Lord has certain expectations of His children. He is not a genie or a fairy Godmother.
While thinking about this, I came up with two kinds of prayers.
1. Lazy Prayer– This is the more common kind of prayer. It’s like a student not studying for an exam and then asking the Lord to reveal all the questions in a dream! I know this one because I’ve lived it. Success comes when preparation meets opportunity. Unfortunately, many of us are neither prepared nor positioned for success. We want things to fall upon us, but we haven’t done well with the talents that God has given to us. This is wrong. God is not mocked, neither is He fooled.
You cannot reap what you didn’t sow. There’s a price to pay for every good and perfect gift that comes from God. Yes, you may say salvation is free, but it’s free because Jesus already paid that price for you. Don’t deceive yourself. God abhors laziness, so don’t get caught in that trap.
2. Prayer with Expectation- The bible says that the expectation of the righteous will not be cut short. When you have played your part, done your research, and waited upon the Lord, He will send down your blessings in due season. David gives us an example of this kind of prayer In 1 Samuel 30, after he suffered an unthinkable loss. David and his men had been away fighting, and in their absence, the Amalekites had raided the town and taken their children and wives captive. The men of war were so bitter that they even contemplated stoning David, their king.
Utterly dismayed, David encouraged himself in the Lord, and asked the Lord for the next steps to take. The Lord assured David of His presence and asked him to “pursue, overtake, and recover all.” Remember that David came to the Lord before first making any plans. And remember that David had an army that was prepared, that was ready, and that was willing.
Sometimes we’re willing and we’re ready, but we do not have the resources. That’s good enough for the Lord that made the earth out of the word of His mouth. The Lord only requires that while we wait, we’re doing His will and being faithful in the little that He gives us.
Don’t do it in reverse, asking God to bless your plans. You ask Him what His own plans are, and then whatever He does for you is already blessed.
Featured image from here.