You’ve probably heard it said that you shouldn’t pray for patience. There’s a common saying among Christians: “Don’t pray for God to teach you patience–you won’t like what he’ll put you through to learn it!”
If we took that kind of advice we’d find MANY things for which we shouldn’t pray.
Good thing we’re usually no good at listening to our own advice.
These are real prayers prayed, desires of my heart uttered in the watches of the night, inaudible cries sent to God:
-Lord, draw me close to you.
-Help me to trust in you alone.
-Give me less of me and more of you.
-Make me more like you.
Oh, what my heart wants and my spirit cries out for…. well, to gain these things my flesh and mind have to endure what they do not want: self-denial, struggle, stretching… and so much more… to have
what I want what I need, means going through what I don’t.
Good thing the Spirit cries out on my behalf because left to my own I wouldn’t ask or I’d take back my request when the going got tough.
When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
I sure do like feeling secure. But, so often, feeling secure means feeling secure in me. But when God blesses me with more of Him I have to have less of me. Hard reality here: that feels like the ground is giving way beneath my feet.
Because it has.
Because it has to.
Because if it doesn’t I won’t ever go deeper with God; I will forever stay lulled in a false sense of security in me.
But that isn’t what I really want. And it sure isn’t what I really need.
God, knowing what I want, even more, knowing what I need causes the ground to give way beneath my feet…
Not to my demise.
Not to misery.
Not to my suffering.
Not to my unending wailing.
But to my ultimate benefit: that I may have more of Him… because it is the only way I can go deeper with Him.
Through that, in that, because of that:
my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
And this song echoes in my mind because I desperately want to be taken deeper than my feet could ever wander…
But I can’t do that on the land.
I have to venture out upon the water.
Sometimes the ground has to give way beneath my feet so that my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my savior. I’m too stubborn and only when EVERYTHING else has given way will I dig deep in faith into the love of the only one in whom I can truly be secure.
And that is the heart of those prayers we pray, the things of God for which we deeply long. At our core we know what our mind refuses to accept: The ground must give way.
The ground giving way beneath your feet can come in many forms, in the big and the small. It can be as simple as not getting our way or as drastic as family chaos, job uncertainty, health failures, and things even more tragic. But in those times when that from which we normally derive our sense of security and well being are shaken, that is when we have the chance to see God, who never wavers… we have the chance to know Him more deeply.
Where is the earth giving way beneath your feet?
How is God using the uncertainty, pain, or struggle to draw you deeper and give you more of Him?