Prayer and God’s Sovereignty

Just in the last week, some really important to me, but secret prayers were answered quite directly.  While I am not interested in divulging those requests or answers into Blogworld, I will say that I am very encouraged about prayer.  I realize that theology is not about feelings, but as a human being, I have feelings.  

I feel drawn into spending time with God despite my crazy life and busy schedule.  It is like there is a kind of spiritual yearning that has been rekindled that was existing as grey embers if it existed at all.  I am reading through the book of Acts with a sense that they were people in the midst of something totally new, yet God ordained, and they had to kind of muddle through establishing the church in the best way that they could on a day to day basis.  On most days there were not miracles and thousands getting saved.  Like us, they had to deal with the reality of the everyday life in addition to persecution and being forced to relocate and wonder if they would be accepted in their new location.  

Being forced into trusting God in a difficult situation which you did not create and cannot fix, seems to be one way that a sovereign God orchestrates drawing us into His presence.  

A few years ago, we had just emerged from near foreclosure and a number of other troubling family problems including the death of a beloved family member.  All of those things were added to a church situation that was best described as disastrous and left at that.  During a business trip I had occasion to visit the cathedral at Gonzaga University during an afternoon break and wander around to see and photograph it.  It is one of the most beautiful structures that I have ever been privileged to visit.  When I was done with my wanderings, I sat alone in the back row and quietly shut my eyes.  In the stillness and quiet, I could sense God speaking to me in the most amazing way about all of the hard things that we had been through and what His purpose was in our lives.  To be brief, the message was that He wanted my painful experiences to cause me to look at people through His eyes, to have compassion on broken people.

Pain gives us gifts.  Compassion.  A heart to serve.  A direction to head.  Humility and brokenness where there was once only pride, comparison and judgment.  Sensitivity.  Carefulness with words when others are struggling with deep issues.  A desire to pray secretly for a different outcome and believing that one is possible with a God who can do anything.  Trust that things will be restored one day, even if they are not on earth.  The ability to share tears without embarrassment.  The knowledge that a grasped hand can give incredible strength.  Knowing the grace and love of a Shepherd’s presence.

The comforting presence.  The quiet stillness of a soul at rest.  The knowledge of being heard and loved.  It was what He had in mind all along.

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