Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 89

Answered Prayers continued...

It’s one thing to say ‘if the Lord wills’, it is quite another to acquiesce, submit, and even capitulate to the will of God. Once again, the need to yield and surrender to God’s will is in direct opposition to man’s need to feel in control and superior. These two concepts and trains of thought butt heads with disturbing frequency, and unfortunately much of the time human will wins out by justifying its absence of trust and lack of faith in the will of God.

As we continue to grow and mature our spiritual man, as we see God proving Himself time and again in our daily lives, we begin to submit and yield to His will with greater regularity than we formerly would have, because one cannot deny what they are seeing with their eyes.

As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, and when we begin to acknowledge the consistency with which God’s will turns out to be a better way than what our will would have been, we have no choice but to surrender to His omniscience and omnipotence.

Since I have seen the following scenario played out a time or two, I would be remiss if I did not also draw your attention to man’s ongoing attempt to manipulate the will of God once they’ve acknowledged it and even submitted to it.

Once you have submitted and yielded yourself to the will of God, do not let your flesh rise up and attempt to manipulate it.

What I mean by this, is if I truly submit to the will of God, then I will not attempt to change the circumstance I currently find myself in, on my own. If I’ve truly acquiesced to God’s will, I will not do everything in my power to change my current predicament and once I’ve failed, come before God hoping He will remedy that which I myself have muddled up to a greater extent than it otherwise would have been.

That is not acquiescence, that is not submission, and that is not capitulation. What it is, is finding oneself between a rock and a hard place, seeing no way out of the predicament you’ve inserted yourself in, and crying out for help to whomever will hear, preferably someone with enough power and clout to do something about it.

No, my intention is not to hurt someone’s feelings, it is not to make you feel bad about yourself, but I love you enough to tell you the truth even though it might sting a little.

As an old preacher was fond of saying whenever he’d talk to his congregation about true obedience, true submission, and true surrender of the heart, ‘don’t call it what it isn’t ‘cause the only one you’re fooling is yourself.’

Although there are many versions of the following story floating about at least in my neck of the woods, the takeaway message is pretty much identical each and every time.

In a nondescript town, on a given continent, there was a young man who desired to marry. This young man had had his eye on two particular girls around his age, both wholesome, and from ‘good stock’ as the old timers like to say. Coincidentally, both of the young ladies lived on the same street, one on the right side of the street, and one on the left side of the street.

The young man continued to be torn between the two, and finally he knelt by his bed one night and prayed, ‘God, tomorrow I’m going to ride my horse down the street these two girls live on, and as a sign from You, if my horse turns its head to the right, I will marry the girl who lives on the right side of the street, and if my horse turns its head to the left, I will marry the girl who lives on the left side of the street.’

True to his word, the young man wakes up the next morning, saddles his horse, and starts to ride down the middle of the street on which his potential wives lived on. The horse trotted placidly, looking neither to the left nor to the right, and after a few minutes, growing more and more alarmed that the horse had not turned its head, the young man grips the reigns and tugs them to the left.

Instinctively, the horse turned its head to the left, and with a smile upon his face the young man said, ‘thank you Lord for answering my prayer.’

This is what I mean by trying to manipulate the will of God. It could have been that the horse would have eventually turned its head to the right, or that neither of the girls this young man had in mind were to be his wife – and so the horse would have just kept trotting, keeping its head straight and unmoving – but he grew too impatient, and took it upon himself to ‘make the will of God happen.’

In his heart of hearts, this young man never truly trusted God, nor had he ever truly submitted to the will of God. Perhaps he prayed the prayer to soothe his conscience, or make himself feel better about choosing between the two girls, but if he had truly trusted the will of God for his life, he would have kept his hands off the reigns, and acquiesced to whatever the horse did – whether it ended up looking to the left, to the right, or continued on, straight ahead.

God doesn’t need my help to accomplish His will, nor does He appreciate my would-be attempt to manipulate it. All God demands is that I submit, that I surrender my heart in its entirety, and trust that His will is the best possible outcome for my life.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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