Friday, November 23, 2012
The Answered Prayer
Well I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I can’t tell you how mine was yet, because we are celebrating it tomorrow. Jeff worked at the church all day yesterday, so we are doing a nice dinner with my family tomorrow. But I’m sure you all had a nice time and I bet that you were reminded of all you have to be thankful for.
It’s not that I am not grateful for all that I have- because I am. But one day filled with turkey and stuffing may bring nice thoughts, but it doesn’t suddenly mean that everything is going to be better. I have not shied away at all from sharing with you that I am in a wilderness time in my life right now. And with the desert comes some real hard core testing.
In spite of everything however, I found the thing I am most grateful for, and it goes beyond the things that can be taken away (family, health, freedom, etc.). I have learned in this time that nothing is off limits to being tested. With the exception of the health and happiness of my children (and that is no small thing), I have been put under the fire in every other area...and this is what I am most grateful for because it is what I have prayed for all my life.
No, I have no specifically prayed for life to be this hard. However, 19 years ago when I gave my life to the Lord I committed from that day on that I would serve Him with all that I have. And then I went a step further- the prayer of my heart and of my life since that day is to be so deep in Him that the only part of me that remains are sincere humility and the deepest of integrity. There is only one road to that destination, and I am walking part of it right now.
I am not necessarily saying that the only way to be truly humble and of deep character is to go through suffering. Well, actually maybe that is exactly what I am saying. Yes, there are seasons of blessing and when they come I will embrace them...but if you truly submit your entire self to God then He is going to walk you down some dark roads- not because He is cruel, but because if you really want true integrity then quite a lot of yourself has to be stripped away. I think that is why there is a general lack of depth in many people today...there is a reluctance to really walk the path that leads to depth. I get it. It’s hard. Really hard. And it takes a lot of sacrifice. But then again, I cannot imagine living my life for Jesus yet not being willing to walk the depths of the valleys to be closer to Him. I have met many people and read many books throughout my time in Bible college and in ministry, and the one thing that people of true depth and substance have in common is that they have all walked some dark roads. They are so stripped away and so deep in Him that they don’t even realize how powerful their souls are. And I think that is the beauty of it...when you finally achieve the goal, you don’t even know it.
I am not anything special nor have I arrived to any level of greatness. But I want to. I will not abandon this road that I am on just because it has gotten so hard. I have always prayed for character and He is answering my prayer. I will choose to embrace the challenges He deems me fit to face and I will always keep walking. Maybe, just maybe, one day I will finish my race as the person He wants me to be.
And for that chance I am eternally grateful.