How do we tend to react when people try to dictate what we should do?
Here's a close-to-home example:
"Papa… I need a car by tomorrow, and make sure it's a Mercedes Benz! You promised to provide for me, now prove it!"
In this case, my reaction would probably be: "Hmm… I think I'm having trouble hearing you clearly. Where's my hearing aid?"
"You don't have one!"
"What did you say, son?"
Imagine how our Heavenly Father must feel when we dictate His actions: "Lord, I want a better job. Please take away my rebellious kids. And don't forget to hit little Johnny with strap throat. I sure don't want him to win the speaking contest! And make Aunt Fluvia come down with the flu! She's planning to visit me, and you know how she annoys me with her constant bickering!"
His answer might go something like this: "Who do you think I am? Santa Clause? Why do you call Me Lord when all you expect is for Me to obey your every whim?"
Many of you know that I have been experiencing difficulties sleeping. I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea last fall, and although the remedy, called a C-PAP, has helped me tremendously, it has not broken my habitual pattern of waking up in the middle of the night.
This is very frustrating to me, and I don't know how many times I've cried out to God: "Lord! Heal me!"
Now, looking back to my request, it pretty much sounds like a demand to me!
It took me a while, but I finally did realize that my real problem was not my diagnosis of sleep apnoea. Rather, my two-fold problem was spiritual:
1. I was not leaving my worries completely in God's hands. (For some reason I have sadistic tendencies towards torturing myself over silly things, and I love to steal back the worries I have handed over to my Heavenly Father!); and
2. I was not totally and reverently submissive to my Father. (No demands, whatever the source, are ever reverent or submissive!)
Let's face it: One year from now, how many of us will even remember the worries of today? If worries have so little value to us, then why worry at all?
While at Kingdom Bound this summer, I was touched by God. He made me realize that my sleep difficulties were due to the fact that I constantly want to be in control! Yes, I had accepted Jesus as my Saviour, but had I also accepted Him as Master over all things in my life? Even over my worries? Even over my sleep?
The following Bible text hit right in the centre of my heart:
"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission." (Heb 5:7 NIV)
Note that Jesus was heard "because of His reverent submission". If Jesus was reverently submissive to His Heavenly Father, shouldn't we be even more so?
Let's take a look at Jesus' last request before going to the cross: "Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me." (Luke 22:42 NIV). Then, in anguish so great that He was sweating great drops of blood, He reverently submitted Himself to God: "Yet not My will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:42 NIV)
Let's take a moment here to realize that Jesus' request was never fulfilled! God did not remove the cup of suffering! Nevertheless, the request was still heard and addressed by God: "An angel from Heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him." (Luke 22:43 NIV)
Is it possible that it seems our prayers are not heard because we are not reverently submissive to God's will? Is it possible that our prayers reflect more of our own will than that of the Father?
When God gave me this message, I repented bitterly; and falling to my knees with tears flowing freely, I uttered this prayer: "My sleep problems are now in your hands. Not my will, but Yours, Lord! I'm so sorry that I haven't given You control over all aspects of my life. Be my Lord now! I am Yours, completely! I don't have to worry about worrying any longer! No matter what happens, You are with me! Not my will, Lord, but Yours! It does not matter if I sleep well or not. What matters is that You become my reality in all things!"
From that night on, I have hardly had any problems sleeping through the night. And this is the first time in at least two years! And do you know what the funny thing is? It no longer matters if the sleeping difficulties come back or not. What counts is this: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30 NKJV)
"Dad… I want you to buy me a ranch with at least thousand horses."
"Are you sure you would like that, son?"
"Let me try and help you find a job…"
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