Monthly Archives: June 2017

Prayer, Perspective, and Peace

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “I know You’ve got this, Lord” and 10 being “Thanks, God, I know You are super-capable, but this situation is just not going to get better unless I fret and stew over it…,” I give myself a 5.5. Some days I can go through a twenty-four-hour period without a worry in the world. Some days there are burdens that jump into my thoughts, but they do not take up residence. And still some days I am a ridiculous off-the-charts worry-wart. Yep, I’m going to say I average out to a semi-solid 5.5.

The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you,” in 1 Peter 5:7. Another version says to throw all your worry on Him.  No matter what version you are reading, the message is the same. God cares about you and your burden and desires to carry it for you. Of course, God knows our needs already, but communication with Him is vital in our relationship with Him.

I look forward to prayer time when I can get to a quiet place, worship God for who He is, thank Him for what He’s done, listen to His wisdom, and then lay my burdens before Him.

Obviously, finding quiet spaces with no distractions is not always feasible. Praying to a God who can hear our prayers through the chaotic symphony of family life is such a taken-for-granted gift. Whether the quality time happens in a serene location (My quiet places are my closet or on our rural gravel road as I run) or in the midst of rush-hour traffic, there is a delight in knowing that we serve a God who is not only accessible 24/7, but eagerly awaiting our decision to spend time with Him and bring Him our needs!

We should guard against allowing busyness, laziness, or disinterestedness to get in the way of communication with Him.

Instead of fretting and worrying about what our family and friends are facing, let’s actually lift them to God in prayer. We should never let a flippant comment of, “You are in my prayers,” be a substitute for actually praying for someone.

Whether my worry is about myself or someone else, I want to always remember that going to God with an explanation of why taking this problem away would be best for everyone really is not praying! I have been learning, slowly but surely, that while there is nothing wrong with praying for a specific outcome, my job is not to convince God of why that specific outcome should happen. Praying is not a closing argument monologue in which we are trying to convince Him that our way is the solution to the problem. I am beginning to realize His Word is the final one, and while I may need an extra dose of His comfort and assurance in handling a less-than-desired outcome, I am getting better at trusting that He knows what is best.

Friends, when I spend time with God in prayer, He grants me a sense of perspective and peace every time, 100% of the time. Seriously. Every single. time. It simply cannot be a coincidence that I feel recharged, refreshed, and reassured after connecting with God. In voicing my worries and requests to God, He often grants an insight that I had not thought of before. It isn’t because the problem is solved instantly and it isn’t because He says, “Yes, I’ll answer the way you want me to.” It is because He reminds me that even if His answer is “No” or “Wait,” He will be with me through it all.

Prayer changes our perspective and gives us peace. Let’s make prayer a vital part of our lives. God is enthusiastically waiting.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

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Who Determines the Value of Life?

I cannot begin to know the feelings and emotions that are experienced when a medical professional states that a baby is not going to be born with the “ten-little-fingers-ten-little-toes perfection” that one initially expects. But one thing I do know: from His heavenly view, God does not look down upon newborns in hospital nurseries and ever once utter an “Oops.”

When a baby is not born how we may have originally envisioned, questions sometimes arise regarding the quality of life, but it is human-defined quality. We look at potential future and gauge it in human terms and measures.

A couple of particular families who have children with special needs have been on my mind lately. Their lives will never be the same, but their growth, maturity, and love has increased dramatically through this unexpected turn in their lives. These situations do not have to mean the end of a dream. They can signify the beginning of a new one.

Years ago, a couple brought their son to our apartment door to trick-or-treat for Halloween. He was dressed as an adorable pumpkin, and to my knowledge was unable to walk or speak. The smiles on their faces as they participated in a special family moment together are forever etched in my mind. Numerous times in the few months we lived there, I saw the father, who had a rugged and rough exterior, interact in a beautifully gentle manner with his son. I watched the mother show devotion and dedication to her boy whenever they were out and about. I will never forget the bond I observed between those parents and their cherished son. That extraordinary family modeled what genuine love looks like. And any questions in my mind about the quality of life for people who are not deemed ideal by this world’s standards disappeared forever.

In similar circumstances all over the world, we can see precious children who touch others in remarkable ways. They bring out in others the capacity to love and nurture in ways they previously did not know were possible. And parents experience a strength borne out of a love that they maybe never realized they were capable of.

The One who knit us together in our mother’s wombs gave us life. Every life is a gift from God and a gift to others. Every life is sacred, and the life lessons we learn through others are sacred. Every life is valuable and adds value to others’ lives.

God is the One to go to if we are wrestling with a question concerning quality of life. After all, He not only sees the value in all of His children, He is the One who places it there.

 

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Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;  Jeremiah 1:5a
For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13