When I lose heart…
When I lose heart, it sometimes it has to do with fear about God’s plan for me…will it be too hard? There have been times when God’s plan did not feel like His best for me…did not feel like He could be both loving AND in control and “let that happen”…and yet that is the flesh talking.
When I come to my senses, by coming to His Word, I recall: God IS love (1 John 4:8). He is powerful, and wonderful, and good and wise.
I lose heart when I try to apply human understanding to the practice and purpose of prayer. God’s ways are unsearchable. We cannot completely understand Him or what He does. But we can grow in our knowledge of Him which, in turn grows our faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, ESV).
Studying God helps us to understand the practice and purpose of prayer.
Think of the thing that you pray about as the fruit of a tree. And remember that God created trees to bear fruit, and this fruit bears seeds that grow into trees of the same kind. These trees have roots that go down deep. All of God’s creation works in this predictable way, including us. This knowledge can guide us as we pray. —Pastor Ernie Williams
This repeating cycle of fruit production (the natural and spiritual principle of sowing and reaping, as in Galatians 6:7) is great if the fruit we are producing is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). But that is not always the case.
Let’s look at the fruit of Impatience to see how we might “miss” an answer to prayer. People always joke, Don’t pray for patience or God will give you lots of troubles for practice. Here is the sort of prayer that scares me:
“Lord, do whatever it takes to make me more like You.”
The fruit of Impatience is born on the tree of Self-importance, which has deep, deep roots, grounded in the sin of Pride.
When we pray for God to make us better mothers,
more patient ones,
we are really praying to be more humble,
more like Jesus.
When we pray for patience—then completely lose it in the grocery store line—we are humbled in front of a host of people. Believe it or not, our prayers for patience have been answered!
We might wonder, Where is my help? God has not answered my prayers; I prayed for patience and had none. When we don’t see the fruit we have prayed for, we should remember that trees can take years of maturing, before they bear fruit. Patience and love grow out of humility.
God provides us with ample opportunities to grow to be more like Him, but sometimes we miss the forest, looking for the trees (or maybe we miss the tree, looking for the fruit?). This song says it perfectly (if the video does not display, please refresh your browser!).
God’s goals for us are higher than our own. I keep going back to this scripture again and again when God perplexes me. When Jesus’s ways were hard to bear, many abandoned him. He asked the disciples:
“Are you also going to leave?”
Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:67-69, NLT).
The more we study the Lord and His Word, the more we know how much we don’t know. And that is good. Tell me, how has God taught you this week?