I would like to give my readers a break today. Let’s focus on something other than the out of control violence running rampant in our land. After you read this, those concerns will still be there. But may this respite of a read introduce some calmness into those concerns.
I get to live on a farm! I’m 71 years old (next month I’ll turn 72 but that’s irrelevant). Sometimes, I feel guilty about getting to live here. Why? Because I don’t contribute to the maintenance of the farm. But my daddy (Daddy has 4 children, 3 of us live here on the farm. We still, even in our 70’s and 80’s, refer to this man as Daddy. It’s our farm culture. The way we speak.)
But I digress. I live here because it is a gift from my daddy. I didn’t do anything to deserve this acre of land I live on, other than being a child of my father’s.
Wow, does that remind me of something! Isn’t that the way of things in the spiritual world, too? Let’s examine the parallels. As Christians, we are born into God’s kingdom. That spiritual birth entitles us to the abundant life and eternal life that Jesus died for. It’s our birthright as God’s children. We did nothing to deserve this life. It is ours due to our spiritual birth into God’s family and Christ’s sacrifice.
My life here on the family farm was ultimately provided by my Heavenly Father. It was about 26 years ago, that my family of 6 moved onto the homeplace. This was made possible by a gift from my earthly father.
Stepping out onto my front porch while enjoying the welcomed coolness of a late spring morning, I heard the revving of the mower’s engine, signaling the first hay cutting of the season. I won’t go into all the beautiful details of why this is one of my favorite pleasures of living in the corner of a big ole hayfield. Yet my reverie of thoughts was waylaid with the intrusion of thoughts of guilt. I was reminded (and we all know the source) that while my brothers and nephews work hard for this farm, I can make no such claim.
Why, on earth, you may ask would I spoil this picture of drawing in the sweet fragrance of new-mown hay, as I watched the birds perched on electrical lines anticipating the goodies the mower uncovers for them? Well, it’s Satan’s way. Attacking us with negative thoughts, for the purpose of undermining the perspective God sacrificed to give us.
But I know something too. I don’t have to give into such thoughts. (I call them fiery darts) My perceptive daughter in law reminded me (not long ago) that I have what I have because of who I was born to. And when I take on that perspective then I am at peace about enjoying this undeserved gift.
So, Satan be forewarned. Every time you try to plant that fiery dart thought into my head, I will remind you that like the undeserved gift of my salvation, my home here is an undeserved gift as well. I choose to honor both my fathers with a thankful heart for the undeserved gifts that my birth permits me to enjoy.
It’s the ultimate frustration when you pray and pray over something, but the hoped for answer doesn’t come. The fiery darts will try and convince you that God isn’t paying attention. That He doesn’t really work in the way you desire. It may happen for other people, but not for you. Or you are praying the wrong way, or asking for the wrong thing. Or it’s just not His will. (To name only a few!)
When the answers don’t come and you are tempted to despair; when happiness is something you experience only infrequently; when your joy thermometer reads zero; ask yourself, “What is my focus?”
Remember it’s about perspective. If your days are covered in a dark cloud, the right perspective can change how you perceive that cloud. The dark cloud may remain, but you will see it differently.
That dark cloud can become a reminder to praise God and to thank Him that He is allowing the darkness to draw you closer to Himself. This simple but profound realization changes everything. All those fiery darts cannot hang around in the face of such a Truth.
It’s in times like these, we have to be content in the knowledge that even when we don’t receive the hoped for answers, we have been drawn closer to God. We can trust Him to give us the perspective that will help us move forward. Whether our prayers are answered to our satisfaction or not.
Yes, when our earnest prayer’s remain unanswered it’s difficult to trust and depend upon God. It’s easier just to throw up our hands and quit. But if we reject such fiery dart thinking, then we will be open to receive God’s Truths. He may give us a verse of Scripture like Habakkuk 3:17-19, or comfort from a friend, or insight from a sermon, or encouragement from a song! Centering our thoughts on these Truths whenever we are tempted to despair will restore our hope and give us peace. (Even if our prayers remain unanswered)
Satan doesn’t want this to work, so be prepared for the negative distractions to increase. Stand strong and reject such negative thoughts. Resolve to receive only those Truth thoughts sent by God.
When our child cries out to us because they have suffered a great disappointment, we just wrap our arms around them and love on them. Our presence is their greatest comfort and for them, that is enough.
The same is true for us as God’s children. Our Heavenly Father, desires to be enough. His presence must mean more to us than getting the answers we want, when we want them.