We’ve all heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for!” That especially holds true when we sit in prayer with God. At times he will, because we refuse to listen to his guidance, give us exactly what we’ve wished for – and realize it’s not what we needed. Other times he gives us the exact opposite of what we’ve prayed. And we realize it is exactly what we needed. Charles Stanley’s Life Principle #9 is, “Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees.”
God is our wise counselor. He is the ultimate teacher and rescuer from ourselves. Yes, from ourselves. When we finally surrender to his will we look back over all the times we prayed for the wrong things. A friend of mine shared with me the other day that she was looking back over her last six months of journal entries. She was so convicted in what her prayers said. For one, she kept praying to God to show her how to forgive someone; over and over and over she asked for guidance. And then she came to the entry where she prayed that someone would forgive her, immediately. She didn’t want that person to pray for six months about how to forgive her, she wanted it now. She had to laugh at the glaring lesson God was putting in front of her. “Yes, I want you to forgive immediately, not six months from now, not with some magic steps you need to learn, now.”
About four years ago I sat on the edge of my bed in tears. In my conversation with God I told Him how I didn’t understand why I was so unhappy. I was hosting a successful Bible study, I prayed and I went to church. I recited all my “good Christian” actions. But I was still in mental and emotional turmoil. Suddenly a loud and distinct voice behind me boomed, “What have you really done?” Now mind you, there was no one else home at the time. I quickly looked behind me to an empty room. I responded with a prosaic, “What??” And from right in front of me the voice spoke, “Really, what have you done?” It shocked me. Mostly because the conviction was true. I was doing all the “right things” but I wasn’t doing the most important thing – surrendering completely to the Almighty. And so, I got down on my knees and prayed for him to show me the path – no, pull me with both hands – out of the mud and mire of my life. He rescued me at that very moment. He started me on what I called God’s Boot Camp.
The same friend who shared her journal review asked me at the end of a long walk, “Why aren’t people adding their praise to your posts?” I responded by saying I didn’t really know – maybe people were quietly saying their own praises without feeling the need to post. Some people also reply to me personally. While others might do what I did before that fateful day on the side of the bed, they read and move on. You see God the counselor, God the rescuer can only be successful at his tasks when we intentionally obey him. I also shared with her that this 30 Days of Praise, unlike some of my other challenges I’ve opened to people, is really for me. And if someone wants to come along for the ride it makes it all the more fun.
What has God been counseling you on lately? What has he rescued you from? Share your praise for him today!