James 4:2b – You do not have, because you do not ask God. (NIV)
Shortly after I became a Christian, I read that addicts in a rehab centre were each handed a brown paper "God Bag", with a prayer pasted on the outside. This bag was intended for the person to write out a note to God, turning their sins and problems over to Him.
I really liked the idea and incorporated it into my new faith. After a while, though, I didn't much like having this old brown paper bag hanging around where it often got misplaced. I decided to replace the bag with a jar. I wasn't even sure just what this jar would look like, but prayed that God would help me find what would work for me. I found a perfect, hexagonal, smoked glass jar with a plastic-rimmed lid. Being a perfectionist, I got perfectly square small notepaper, then typed out this poem and taped it to the jar:
As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God, because He is my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried, "How can You be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "what could I do? You never did let go."
Lauretta P. Burns
As the following will attest, I often didn't write until I'd exhausted all my human efforts to do it on my own. One of my first notes to God was as follows:
Father, I am praying for Ernie to stop smoking. He seems to be seriously considering the move but, I believe, is waiting because of the withdrawal symptoms and how it affects him, me, and our marriage. Please, Lord, take away his fear and give him the courage to take this step. I have nagged him and brought our relationship to the brink with my nagging, so in total humility, Father, I am turning the problem over to You because I can do nothing about it. In Jesus' name. I love You. Evonne
I didn't tell Ernie that I'd turned his smoking over to God. Three weeks later, he came to me and said, "I'm thinking of giving up smoking"! After 45 years of smoking four packs of 25 cigarettes a day, God did what some would consider impossible: Ernie quit smoking, and never again had a craving or smoked during the 25 years before he died.
When we find that we are not in control of a situation, the best thing that we can do is to trust that God is in control, and then to let go and let God, Who has a perfect plan for our lives.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You have everything under control and that nothing takes You by surprise. Forgive us when we disappoint You by trying to do everything on our own before asking You for help. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Evonne Isaak Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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