Ready for Results?

25 01 2013

This year, I’m reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young each morning.  Essentially, it’s a daily devotional, but it’s a little bit different.  Many devotionals that you read are basically you reading scripture, someone telling you their interpretation, and then a guidance of your prayers that you should pray after this.  I love Jesus Calling because it does the exact opposite.  Sarah Young wrote down the words that she felt that God told her in her prayers.  This is phenomenal, because all of her prayers seem to be universal, and they deal with reccuring themes…and then she has found scripture that backs up her wordings.  Several weeks ago, the theme that seemed to be overarching for the week was this:  Expect Results, be thankful for the answers that are on their way. 

I love this!

Expect Results.  How many times have you hoped for something?  How many times have you asked for something?  Around Christmas time, our kids ask for things….but it is really special, when you see a kid asking for something that they really want.  Not just a particular toy, or just a regular old thing…but it’s something special, something they really want really badly.  I remember asking for it….but I never really expected it.  As I got older, I stopped hoping and praying for it.  I just started buying the things I really wanted, and asking for things that it didn’t bother me whether or not I got.  Like this year, I asked for work shoes for Christmas from my parents, and went and bought something I really wanted (like movie tickets to Les Miserables), instead of the other way around.  Sometimes, when we pray and we ask God for things, we’re not asking for the things we’re really wanting, we’re asking for the things that it doesn’t bother us whether or not we get it, while we go about obtaining what it is we really want.  For example, I catch myself praying more and more something along the lines of “God, make me a better person.”  Rather than “God, give me a teaching job.”  And I’m still going out and putting applications, talking to principals.  The whole “make me a better person” thing is good….but it really doesn’t astonish me if I get it.  Because I know that in time, due to life and the people I encounter…I will be made a different person. 

See the thing is…we gotta expect results.  We gotta put our trust in the one who can make the results happen.  I’ll tell you a lil story and then we’ll move on.  I was recently moved to tell someone the honest truth of what I thought about them.  My prayer was “Lord, thank you for the clarification on how I feel, if you’ll send me an opportunity, I’ll tell them exactly what I feel about them.”  There, I gave a condition, and I was prepared for what would happen if I got the opportunity.  More on this to come……

Be thankful.  An attitude of gratitude is a must.  We must be thankful for everything.  I’m learning, and will probably continue to learn….that I must be grateful.  I’m no one special, but I have a really great life.  All in all, I have a great situation.  I have a wonderful family, and devoted friends.  I triple-dog-dare you to find a better crowd of people to surround a life with.  It’s a process though, learning to be thankful.  Quite simply, the most thankful people are probably those who have been brought from a state where they had nothing to be thankful for. 

Thankfulness is a contiuous action.  It’s something that takes place in the moment and it’s something that happens day by day.  We get the opportunity to actively choose our responses to the situations and circumstances of our lives.  Often, I must confess, my reaction to some of the most frustrating incidents are not in thankfulness, but I am working on that.

…more on the story:  I had been wrestling with whether or not a friendship was appropriate for me.  There were some misgivings going into the situation, and once I was there, it was not a good situation.  Throughout this whole ordeal, I constantly wrestled with whether or not this was a good place.  Then, through a series of events and conversations, I finally realized that what I was looking for, I was not going to find in this person.  What a relief to finally get an answer!  I was so grateful for leadership in this situation, that did you notice my prayer, and it was just an offhand sentence, but what the implications! “Lord, thank you for the clarification on how I feel, if you’ll send me an opportunity, I’ll tell them exactly what I feel about them.”  I didn’t even notice that my first response was a grateful response!  More to come…..

Be thankful for what?  The answers that are on their way.  This is phenomenal.  That sentence that I’ve really meditated upon a long time, this just fills me with hope.  This is so exciting!  Now, we have to take a break here for a minute and discuss timing:  God’s timing is rarely, if ever, on the same schedule as our timing.  But, when God’s timing comes, it’s often providential, and exactly perfect.  But we have to have the patience to wait upon that timing.  I don’t like waiting…I really don’t.  Like many Americans, sometimes, fast food is too slow.  At work, I am encouraged to push as many customers through my line as quickly as possible, because we know they don’t like waiting.  And I especially seem to dislike waiting on answers from God.  But, the thing is, there is just as much purpose in the waiting as there is in the actual recieving of whatever it is that we’re waiting upon.  It is important that we realize the reasoning of the waiting, before we are thankful for the answers that are on their way.

The thing is, when we ask for things, we have to realize that the answers may not come in the way that we think it will.  I heard a story once, a preacher prayed for a congregation, and his congregation size diminished, but the remaining became more faithful.  By the standards that we know and understand, by the numbers, he wasn’t a successful pastor, and his church was not successful because it was not growing…..but I dare say that any member of the church or the pastor himself, would say it wasn’t a successful church. 

All in the right timing, the answers to our prayers will come, but I think it’s important to also be thankful when they’re on their way, because that shows that we are expectant of the answers, and we’re hoping for the answers to come.  We’re getting involved and asking of the best things, the things we want the most. 

So let’s finish this story, shall we?  The reason I had to sort out the relationship is because I knew that this friendship would eventually destroy me and drag me down.  It was just one of those situations.  Not that the person was a terrible person. No, not at all.  And if that’s what you take away from this, then you’re taking away the wrong message.  But the combination of our personas was very unhealthy for the both of us.  And as I realized this and I prayed:  “Lord, thank you for the clarification on how I feel, if you’ll send me an opportunity, I’ll tell them exactly what I feel about them.” 

An opportunity came that very day. 

I am so grateful that one time, God taught me something.  I got this right once.  But that doesn’t mean I’ll get it next time.  I hope and pray that I will, but with God’s help.  I am so grateful that the opportunity came, and I followed through with that promise.  I am truly better off.  Days may come where I disagree, but the answers are on the way, right?

I am truly grateful that you chose to read this.  Don’t think that this is a chance for me to flaunt how much I am growing in God….that’s not my intention at all.  My intention is simply to tell my story to show how God moved in my situation to teach me a lesson.  I hope and pray that it encourages you. 

Be ready for the results for those things you pray for.  They just might happen!

 

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