May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thess 5:23
So many times I have wondered “God, what are you doing? Why haven’t you fixed this yet?” So many times I have prayerfully offered up my best solutions and wondered why God has not acted in His power to fix things the way I think He should fix them. Yet, looking back… those hard times, those waiting times, those “if You don’t hurry God I am going to die” times, were sanctifying times which resulted in powerful freedom. Oswald Chambers says sanctification is “intense concentration on God’s point of view” which results in “freedom from everything that is unlike Him”. My friend Karen calls hard times which cause us to look intently at God -- “shaking”. It is so true that God often uses shaky times, to shake out stuff in my life that is unlike His Son. Why should I be surprised? God tells us He is going to do it. He is working in you and me to sanctify us wholly (1 Thess 5:23). The old church signs are true: “He loves us too much to leave us the way He found us” and I am convinced He will not stop until we get it… even if that means sending the same lesson more than once. Been there done that!
To truly learn during our times of shaking (and maybe avoid repeating the lesson), we have to hold on to truth. Yet so often, when life gets crazy, when the answers are slow coming, we are tempted to think: “God doesn’t care, He isn’t at work, He isn’t involved in my life or He is late.” God’s Word tells us all this is untrue. He tells us to seek Him and we will find Him (Jer 29:13). He tells us to call on Him, pray to Him and search for Him with everything we have – all our heart. The God (who cannot lie – Tit 1:2) says when we do--we will find Him (Jer 29:12). His plans for us are all good (Jer 29:11) and His intent is to shake out the stuff that causes us pain and help us grow deep roots so we can “be more than conquerors” (Rom 8:37) in this life. In seeking God, in clinging to Him, He teaches us to stand in peace, that makes no earthly sense, and shows us He really can bring good out of those things Satan intends for evil (Rom 8:28). When we keep on seeking Him and keep on obeying Him (rather than going outside of His will for a quick answer), we experience true peace, lasting joy, and unfading hope.
However, blessed answers won’t come when our eyes are fixed on the problem or when we plead only for an “acceptable” answer we have defined. No, if we want the blessing our hearts and minds have to be fixed on the Most High God AND we must surrender our will to His will. The most intense freedom I have ever felt in my life was when, through tears, I prayed “Lord, work this out however you want so that You receive glory. You are God and I am not. I trust You more than I trust me”. Can I tell you there is incredible peace and freedom in this kind of surrendered prayer? Can I also tell you that if God can help a baby like me pray it…He will definitely be your strength to do so?
Prayer: Father, I surrender all to You. I want You more than I want the answers to my problems. I know everything that comes into my life comes through your hand and I know when I follow you… you can bring good from the hard times. Help me Lord to shake free of those things which are not like your Son and help me want what you want. Lord, you tell me you are faithful and you will do it (I Thess 5:24). I trust you will finish this good work you started in me (Phil 1:6)… so take it all Lord and may you receive glory from my life. I believe you Lord. Help even my unbelief (Mark 9:24). Amen.
Tozer's Prayer. My Prayer
9 years ago