FREEBIE!

 I’ve been reading a book called Sun Stand Still, by Steven Furtick. We’ve done two other book reviews on this blog, so this one will end with a giveaway as well.

The book’s premise is that many Christians are afraid to pray big prayers like Joshua’s prayer in Joshua 10.  Moses’s successor had a lot to live up to. As he chased the Amorites over hill, God pounded them with large stones from heaven. The Israelites had already won the victory when Joshua spoke God, “Make the sun stand still!”

Do you ever feel like you’re asking too much of God? He has already done so much for you. Do you really have a right to ask for one thing more? Joshua believed he did. “God, even though your enemies are already on the run, crush them for your glory. Do a miracle so big, that in your name this battle will go down in history!”

Do you ever pray under your breath? Are there some big requests that you’re too timid to share? Do you finish all your request with caveats and loop holes just in case God doesn’t answer the right way or fast enough? 

“At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel…” (Josh. 10:12) IN THE PRESENCE OF ISRAEL. If God didn’t stop the sun in its tracks Joshua was going to look pretty foolish. How much confidence do you have in your God? How much confidence do you have in your knowledge of His will and the sound of His voice?

It’s a symptom of the Christian Atheist. I’ve often realized, with remorse, that I trust God with my eternity, but I don’t trust him for my today. For me that can mean I don’t believe he can get me through a family dinner, or a missed workout or a piece of birthday cake. But of course, I believe Jesus redeemed me for heaven. See the discrepancy?

I have a relationship hurdle in my life right now. I’m at odds with someone really close to me. It’s a relationship that I can’t just let go. I’ve prayed, a million ways, a million times and frankly, I don’t see a whole lot of improvement. Sometimes I’m not afraid to pray big, I just feel too worn out to pray. Kind of, “God you know what I’m thinking, but I’ve said it so many times that…” My attitude is a pessimistic, if God hasn’t answered yet, maybe I should just give up. 
I do have to admit though, that I feel closer to Father than ever before. I see more of my sin. I hear from the Holy Spirit more often than ever before. Many times it is reproof. But His voice is so sweet. Even when what He has to say stings, I am so thrilled that God speaks to me! I wonder if without heartaches, would I have cried out to God the way that I am now?
It’s funny, because what began as disbelief and resignation about God’s interference in this situation, has increased my belief in God in other areas of my life and come full circle to increase my belief in His willingness and ability to make this relationship worthy of His glory.
Ps. 119:71-72 says, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”

So here’s the deal: You need to leave a comment on this post. You have one week. In your comment tell me about your own Sun Stand Still prayer; or you can share your personal struggle with Christian Atheism. On Nov. 2, we will draw a winner from the commentors and they will receive a copy of either Sun Stand Still or Christian Atheist – winner’s choice.

Eye Surgery and Answered Prayer

Do you ever feel like God is ignoring you?

You’ve heard people wail, “Why didn’t God answer my prayer?”  Or, there’s the pious reminder, “Sometimes God says, ‘No’ or, ‘Maybe.'”  Oh how generous of them to offer their unsolicited semi-condolences.

Usually, in our finite minds the concept of, “everything working together for our good” and, “[His] ways are higher than [our] ways,” seem mutually exclusive.  (Romans 8:28 and Is. 55:8-9)

Last week Patrick was supposed to have PRK eye surgery.  He was so excited.  For years, he has talked about it, but the Army is pretty selective about who they will send to get it.  First you have to be a candidate for it visually, then, in Patrick’s case, they have to be able to spare you from your job for a week – and you have to be living in the states, and you have to be near a military hospital that performs the surgery.  Finally, it seemed like all of the odds were in his favor.  His colonel approved it, he had people to cover him for at work, the eye doctor gave him a go, and so the countdown began.

For about 10 days we knew his appointment date and carefully scheduled around it.  We talked through all the worst case scenarios (dumb idea) and planned creative ways to distract him from the pain during recovery.  He gleefully order a new pair of Oakley sunglasses that he has been drooling over for months – soon he could wear them without trying fit them over his prescription glasses.

Other benefits – the soldiers cannot wear any glasses when conducting funerals or formal ceremonies as members of the honor guard.  Now he could finally see eye winks and hand signals!

Last Wednesday, we woke up before 6 a.m., sipped coffee like we were sitting on needles and picked out library audio books for that afternoon.  Then, we battled typical DC traffic all the way to Walter Reid.  Next, we spent 30 minutes driving through the spiral eternity of their parking garage.  At the last minute, Patrick ditched the car and ran inside and I had to drive off-site to park.  It was 8:30 a.m.

I won’t bore you with the next 2 hours.  I twiddled and meandered and read and fiddled.  He was with the doctors doing last minute measurements and getting his numbing drops – I thought.  His surgery was supposed to be at 10 a.m., so I was pacing outside the waiting room door at 10 after.  Empty-handed and painless, Patrick sauntered past me and headed to the elevator.

“What happened!?”

“It’s not going to happen,” he answered calmly without even looking at me.  As if I was supposed to know that.

“Why not?”

“Apparently my cornea is too thin.  The doctor I saw today said he wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if he did the surgery.”

That’s good enough for me.  I’d rather see through coke-bottle lenses than be blind!

But here’s what I’m getting at:

I’d been praying for weeks that Patrick would have minimal pain.  I had prayed desperately that God wouldn’t take his sight.  I know it’s rare, but it happens.  Even as I waited for him that morning, I saw four blind men in the hospital.  I knew my mom was praying, I knew my grandma was praying, I knew Joan was praying.  And I knew that Patrick had been praying for the opportunity to have this surgery.

So what was God’s answer?  God chose to answer my prayer for painlessness and protection by keeping Patrick from having surgery.  That’s not exactly what I was praying for, but usually, we don’t know the depths of what we are asking.

From a different view of this whole story, I have to applaud my husband.  I know he is disappointed.  I was disappointed for him.  To be taken to the last minute, the half-hour before and then to be told, “No.”

Patrick simply said, “OK.”  With no more than a sigh, he picked out a new set of glasses frames, drove us home and went back to work.  He hasn’t complained once since then.

Hmmm… Lessons to remember:

1. God always answers and it’s always for my good – now or later.

2. Displaying the grace of Jesus means accepting His will for me with joy, peace and trust in His greater knowledge and love for me.