Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Happens?

What happens when we pray?  I know that we pray, we grow in faith, God hears us, and answers our prayers, sometimes in ways we want, sometimes in ways we don’t want.  But on a cosmic level, what really happens?  I ask because I have been privileged to see BIG answers to prayer lately in the lives of people around me, or people who used to be around me.
                Example 1.  A former elder of my church in Atlanta has been fighting cancer for 15 or so years.  He and his precious family were told a few weeks ago that the end was near and he had mere days to live.  So people prayed.  I mean, prayed.  All across the state of Georgia, and elsewhere in the country, people who know this man and people who don’t all got down on their knees and cried out to God for a miracle.  Death retreated, and he’s still fighting, one of Christ’s great warriors on this earth, I know. 
                Example 2.  A couple in India whom I’ve never met adopted an infant boy born with several disabilities, who was unwanted by his mother and would otherwise have been left to die.  They brought him to Chapel Hill for desperately needed surgery, only to find out that they needed $100,000 to actually pay for the surgeries.  So people prayed. And gave.  And $100,000 was raised in one week.  ONE WEEK.  I get chills just thinking about it.  This beautiful child still has a hard journey ahead of him.  This isn’t over.  But God is working.
                So I wonder, what happens when we pray?  Are the powers of God unleashed upon this earth?  Are His warriors sent out to do His bidding and to answer the pleas of His people?  Are the forces of Satan pushed back as the sons and daughters of the Creator raise their voices?  When our hearts are in anguish, does He sing over us words of comfort and healing?
                I think yes.  I know in this lifetime, I will never know what that looks like in the spiritual realm, but oh, what joy it will be to gaze upon the face of my Savior and see how His mighty hand is outstretched over this earth.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What do you write about when there's nothing going on?

There’s a book out there entitled A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.  I’ve never read this book because the title alone scares me to death.  I’m not so good with patience…or boredom…or doing the same thing every day.  I pretty much HAVE to have something to look forward to or I start feeling antsy and going a little bit crazy. 
                The last eight years of my life have been nothing but constant change—jobs, cities, places to live.  Now I find myself in a “situation” that could realistically not change for awhile.  Oh, I’m sure that I’ll probably move to a different apartment or house at some time in the next year or so because that just seems to be my lot in life (one benefit: I am the most efficient packer EVER and I accumulate very little stuff).  But I’m at a stable job that I’m not looking to get out of, in a city that I really don’t see myself leaving anytime soon. 
                I know that God could totally change all of that without a moment’s notice, but what if He doesn’t?   I’ve learned so much over the last decade about how to deal with change, but very little about how to deal with sameness.  I think I’ve had my fair share of heartache and struggle this year, but I have to admit that it’s easier to cry out to God when I can really feel my desperate need for Him.
                It’s a lot harder when there is an established rhythm to life and nothing seems all that difficult.  I find myself a little bit envious of my friend who is living in India or other people I know who are preparing to move to different countries.
                I trust that the “boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places,” but will I be able to continue to believe that even if instead of calling me to go, God calls me to stay?  The sufficiency of God’s grace seems much more real to me in times of struggle and weakness than it does in the small, mundane stresses of everyday life.
                Most of the last 5 years of my life, God has been teaching me to trust in truth, not in my own feelings.  Perhaps this season of life is just a continuation of that.  Or perhaps He’s up to something bigger (He usually is) than I can even dream of. 
                Either way, subjects for blogging are more difficult to find J