Sometimes when I pray and ask the Lord for “patience,” I fear that what I am really saying is “Lord, please give me what I want.” And that when I pray for “clarity,” what my heart is really saying is “Lord, give me what I want now.” I know the Lord doesn’t work that way. In truth, I know the Lord works all things out for His Glory… not for my satisfaction. And honestly, what I really want is for my heart to be quiet and humbled to the point that when the Lord speaks clearly… I am able to listen and to recognize His voice.
I say this because I have been asking for these things within the past year of my life. Asking for patience… and for clarity. I believe that sometimes those two don’t always go hand-in-hand. Patience means that I will trust the Lord’s timing and not my own… clarity often means that I am feeling not-so-patient and just want answers. But truthfully, I just want to hear God’s voice. And I’m learning that you can’t always hear God’s voice alone. Sometimes you need the support, accountability, and encouragement of those around you that are also listening for God’s voice. I am extremely grateful and overwhelmed that I have this in my life. To know that there are many God-fearing women (and men) in my life that are consistent in their pursuit of God’s holiness is absolutely overwhelming. Because there have been countless times in my life where I have sat across from someone over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and uttered the phrase “I just don’t know what to pray right now.” Because sometimes my prayers sound too much like selfish requests. There is an overwhelming sense of grace and mercy that comes with knowing that there are people in my life that are able to bless my heart, and lift up my requests to the Lord alongside me.
I’ve always known that asking the Lord for patience and clarity has never meant that I would get exactly what I want. This morning, as I am sitting in the sunshine in my backyard, listening to the baby birds chirping away with their hunger songs, I was enjoying the rest and taking time to reflect on what God is teaching me, and came across this verse in Hebrews:
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”
I am not alone. Even Jesus, who was made perfect in both Spirit and in flesh, cried out and asked for what he wanted. But he knew… that despite his flesh, there was someone else in control… there was no doubt that God had a greater, better plan. Even though Jesus went through great suffering, he learned obedience.
And this brings me to my knees. Because it is so easy to cry out “Why, God?” when we are only focused on our immediate situation. It would be natural for me to be angry or frustrated that I did not get the answers to my questions the way that I wanted them to be answered. But my heart desires something greater than what I have already experienced… and I long to rest in the bigger picture; even though it is unknown, there is more comfort in knowing He is in control and the confusing or disappointing moments, details, even years of my life, are still a part of some greater story in my life. And I certainly don’t want to settle for anything less than the greatest… I don’t want to settle for anything less than His Glory… His Grace… His mercies…
I will hold on to HOPE…
“God never witholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful – “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our heart’s desire except to give us something better.” [Elisabeth Elliot]