Why I stopped asking God to keep His word.
Do you ever listen to yourself pray? The older I get the more I'm convinced that our prayers say more about our real theology than our songs and our sermons. It's amazing what they reveal about our understanding of God. I've learned a lot about my own theology in this season of my life. There have been moments over the past two years that felt like a desert, like a dry, hot desert that just won't seem to end.
We've all walked through seasons like that. I know we can all relate.
I'm often reminded that I can be impatient at times. I'm a dreamer. I am someone who believes God for more than I can see. Since college I've sensed a real passion in my soul for seeing a generation connect with the glory of God. I refuse to believe that Jesus died for us to merely exist as more religious, well-behaved versions of our old selves. There's nothing tame about resurrection. There's nothing more powerful that connecting with the finished work of Jesus and the reality that He has pleased God for us. And as I walk this road, God has taken me through some valleys that have made me question everything I thought I knew about Him.
It's amazing to me as I look back and in the moments when I didn't feel like God was near... when I didn't feel like God heard me... when I didn't feel like God had my best interest at heart... I found myself trying to remind God of the promises He made to us in His Word. I've heard people say that we need to anchor our hope in the promises of God, and I think at the time that's what I was attempting to do. But as I look back, I've asked myself some difficult questions, and the answers were sobering:
Was I anchoring my faith in God's promises?
Or was I reminding God as though He had forgotten about His promises?
Like I needed to remind God to come through just in case He had forgotten.
What seemed like a genuine exercise of faith at the time, I think was really just me looking for a spiritual way to tell God I didn't trust Him. This was eye opening for me.
I'll never forget hearing my Mom tell me "You know, it would be incredibly arrogant to think you're gonna be the first person God chooses to be unfaithful to." (Momma can preach.)
When I bump up against those moments of anxiety and feel like God has forgotten about me, I have resolved to start changing the way I pray. Instead of reminding God about all the promises He's made to us in His Word, instead of worrying about whether or not I can stand on those promises, I've started thanking God for them.
"God, I don't understand what you're up to. I don't understand where you're taking me. I know my feelings often preaching a false gospel, but I feel like you've forgotten about me. So, instead of trying to remind you about the promises you've made, as though you've forgotten about them or as though there might be a chance you won't come through... instead I'm going to thank you for the promises that you have made... I'm going to thank you for the hope those promises give me.
Promises that I can anchor my hope in.
Promises that I can stand on.
Promises that fuel my faith in moments of uncertainty.
Promises that are mine because of what Jesus has done for me.
Promises that you have not forgotten about.
I don't know how you're going to bring those promises to the light of reality, but I'm going to thank you in advance because I know You will. Calm my anxious soul. Help me to "be still and know" as the Psalmist so brilliantly wrote. Lead me through the shadows that prevent me from seeing the steps I need to take."
"Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass." Joshua 1:45
God is faithful. He can be trusted.