Monday, February 20, 2012

Time Spent in Prayer is Never Wasted Time...

I have been thinking a lot about prayer over the last few days. I think about those in my life who have had prayers answered; those who in my life who have not had prayers answered; and those in my life who like me are still waiting and wondering if God's answers will ever come.

It's easier to continue praying when you see God's hand at work. When you are with a loved one who is sick or going into surgery or you are asking for specific things to make them well and you can see God's hand moving through the situation it's easy to continue praying. It's not as easy to continue to pray when you feel like God is silent; when you are asking for specific things but the answers don't seem to be what you were praying for. It's not as easy to continue to pray when you see God's hand one moment and then the next moment you feel like he's not there.

But no matter what the outcome of prayer, it is never wasted time. God longs for us to be close to Him and there is no better way than time spent in prayer. When you are in prayer with God, when you are talking to God, crying out to God or even screaming at God... He is there. Even though at times it may seem like He is not there, that He is not listening... He is there. And while we may not get the answers we are looking for or while we wait to see what those answers will be, that time is never wasted.

God wants us to be in relationship with Him more than anything else. And there are no stipulations on that relationship. He simply wants us to come to Him. There are days when all I want to do is praise and thank God. And there are days when I simply don't understand. But I know that even if I am screaming at God for answers, He still loves me and cares about what is going on in our lives. I know that even when I'm not sure what's going on or why, there is a peace in prayer that I can not explain. There is a comfort in KNOWING that God is there. There is comfort in knowing that God has a plan... even when I can't see it yet.

So even when you think God is not listening... He is. Even when you think God doesn't care... He does. Even when you think there is no reason to pray any more... there is. Even if you have no words left and you think what is the point... there is a point. Some of the greatest times with God are spent in silence... when we have no words left and we simply sit in His presence. Sometimes it's not about the answers. Although believe me, I would like answers as much as anyone. Sometimes it's about just being with Him. Sometimes God just needs you to be still, He needs you to be with Him and He needs you to be content just to be with Him. So time spent in prayer is never wasted... no matter what we think of the outcome. Because time spent with God, even in silence, is one of life's greatest blessings.

The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Your Path

In December I got to travel to California to meet Chris on a business trip. While he was at work that Friday, I went to the beach. My plan was to sit by the ocean and read. I did sit by the ocean, but I didn't do much reading. I always plan to read, but once I'm there, the beauty of God just takes over! I was out there for over 2 hours by myself. I found myself watching the birds, watching the water, listening to the wonderful sound of the waves crashing in and then as I was laying there on the beach I became mesmerized with the sand.

The sand on the beach was cool. I love squishing my toes and feet into the sand! On this particular day, I started playing in the sand with my hands. It was cool to the touch, and it was actually kind of shiny and glistening. I noticed how many tiny and billions upon billions of grains of sand their were and thought about the scripture in Psalm 139 that says,

"How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you."

God's thought are so numerous that they outnumber the grains of sand! That is something that we cannot even comprehend! As I lay there playing in the sand, I began digging out a hole with my hands. I dug it deeper and deeper and as I dug deeper, I pushed the sand out to the sides to make the hole larger and wider. Then, I just laid back and watched the sand. Some of the sand would slide right back down the center of the path. Other parts of the sand would take a path on the outside on it's way back and still other parts of the sand would would travel down a path and be diverted by a larger piece of sand in it's path. Those pieces of sand would take a longer and travel a more difficult path, but they would still end up back in the same general place.

As I watched the sand I thought, isn't that how we are with God? God has a plan for us, a purpose, and He knows we are going to end up exactly where He intends for us to be. Some of us take the shorter path; Others of us, take the more scenic route, enjoying what life and God has to offer us along the way. Still others take a path not traveled by many. Their path is more difficult and has many more bumps and detours along the way... some by our own choosing. But by the grace of God and the plans He has for us, we still end up right where He intended for us to be.

We all traveling through life at our own pace, at our own speed, on our own journey. But we are all guided by the One who can see the whole picture! And while the picture we see, may not look like much, God is still moving us to the ultimate goal! God sees the whole picture! Praise God that His mercies are new every day!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Real Faith

I ran across the picture today and it reminded me that sometimes, and quite often most times, having real Faith means to wait, to listen, to watch for God. I think we can get so caught up in how the world operates, (express lanes, fast food, microwaves, etc.) that we forget that all things do not come quickly.

In our spiritual walk sometimes things not coming quickly can be very discouraging, it can be hard, it can even be painful. It can even cause us to lose our way if we get caught up in waiting for answers that do not come. It's hard to remember that God's timing is not our timing. It's sometimes hard to remember that God has a plan even if we can't see it yet. But sometimes real faith, means waiting. Real faith means years of tears and wondering if God is really listening. But most of all, real faith means trust. It means trusting in God even when we see no answers. It means trusting that God has a plan even if we can't see it yet. It means trusting that God's timing is perfect.

This picture reminded me of that today. It's reminds that faith is more than just belief. It's trusting, waiting and fully expecting what we pray so desperately for. It's knowing that God's timing is perfect because He is GOD and I am NOT!

but those who hope in the Lord will renew
their strength. They will soar on wings like
eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31