27 Jan

Today I will wrap up my reflections on Jesus’ invitation to rest.  But as we move on, I pray we will respond to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to let go of the striving, the efforts to control, and rest. 

As mentioned last week, there are certain things I can expect from God.  After all, He has given me His Word, filled with promises, ALL of which are YES in Christ!  (2 Corinthians 1:20) But when I think I know what is best for me, and He doesn’t give me what I ask for, I may feel abandoned and hurt; sometimes, downright angry and frustrated.  This is where I desperately need a reality check.

When I expect God to perform like a genie, waiting at the ready to produce whatever I think I need, I completely miss out on the joy and fulfillment of intimacy with Him.  When was the last time you spouted off a list of wants and needs to your closest friend, he or she immediately provided, and as a result, your friendship deepened? Demands don’t work in true relationship, regardless of with whom. 

Yet Jesus invites me to ask.    

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark 11:24

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”  John 14:14 

God longs to give me the desires of my heart (Psalms 37:4), yet, because His ways are so high above my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), He doesn’t always give me what I ask for.  Why?  He has something better!  He alone knows what I truly need.  He alone, can take the hardships and sufferings in this life and transform my heart, bringing the very best, beyond my wildest imagination! 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 

I must confess; however, that sometimes, quite certain that a simple solution would work far better, I look at struggles and wonder, “God, what could You possibly be doing in this?”  

This is where the enemy watches for a foothold.  If Satan, the father of lies, can create doubt in my mind of God’s love for me, unrealistic expectations can grow into resentment, and a rift develops in my heart.  Satan has been using this tactic since the very beginning, when He whispered lies to Eve in the Garden.

This is why wearing the belt of truth is so crucial!  It is foundational to resting in Him.

Looking back, I see countless times God gave me so much more than I asked for.  In fact, I didn’t even know how to ask for the best, because I couldn’t imagine a better way even existed.

I asked for salvation from a future hell.  He saved me from hell on earth.

I asked Him to show me the denomination with the correct doctrine.  He gave me the joy of relationship in the body of Christ.

I asked Him for truth.  He showed me His heart.

I asked Him to take away my fear and give me confidence.  He revealed my identity through Christ in me.

I asked Him to help me do better.  He filled me with His righteousness.

The list of "better" is endless.  And yet, His answers did not come quickly; at least, not according to my time-frame; nor did they come easy.  But experiencing His goodness, I can say with absolute certainty, His answers are always "yes in Christ!"  2 Corinthians 1:20

You may ask, “but, what about the darkest hours?  What about the dreaded diagnosis that threatens life and health?  What about the loss of a dearest loved one?  What about homelessness and horrific disasters?”  This list is long, as well.  Yet, I must trust Him even still, the Father of compassion, the Jesus who wept, the Holy Spirit who comforts.

The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
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 40:28b-31

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 

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