(Click here to listen via podcast & follow me on Soundcloud!) The last few months of my life have not been easy. I’ve shed tears. I’ve struggled. I’ve had to put a smile on my face and keep it moving, but come home and cry later. Driving in my car one afternoon, I remember having this internal dialogue:
“God, I don’t feel like going through another process. God why must I always have to go thru some kind of “Process”? How come things just can’t flow according to plan? Why do we always have to go the long roundabout way of pain and suffering to get to the next level? Is something that drastically wrong with me I that must forever to go thru something all of the time? How many more lessons must I learn now? Am I flunking my tests again? Another wilderness God? Really? Is it really you? Did you put me here or did I put myself? How come God? I must be the most hard-headed child of God because he always seems to choose me to go through some kind of test, trial and tribulation. How long must I sit in the wilderness God? Forever? “
Like an ancient Israelite, I find myself in yet another wilderness. Disappointment. Pain. Process.
Life is tough. It can be raw and gritty. Once the questions cease and the dust settles, you must come face to face with reality and no longer resist what is. It is the internal dialogue above — the resistance to the current situation that creates the pain. It is the refusal to surrender that creates the suffering. It is the tight hold on a limited and narrow belief of how I think things should unfold that creates the angst, disillusionment and disappointment.
I’ve have learned repeatedly and must yet learn again that surrender is key. Only when I fully and completely let go of the way I think things should be and release all outcomes to God is when I have peace.
On top of that I have learned three key things about God’s timing and His ways when it comes to answered prayers and process.
Expansion & Growth
As I have often said, everything that God created grows. If we are alive on this earth, we are expected to not only grow physically, but we must also grow emotionally and spiritually as well. When we stay stuck in the same negative emotional and thought patterns for years, we are not growing. Catherine Ponder in her book, The Dynamic Laws of Prayer states, “Prayer often has to work amazing results in you before it can work amazing results through you and for you…so often we miss our answers to prayer because we insist upon an immediate result, rather than being willing to grow into it…before we have unfolded to the point of receiving it…”
We can pray all we want to for the outward circumstances of our lives to change, but if we are full of negativity, drama, unforgiveness, holding onto grudges from the past, critical and condemning, we will never see answered prayers.
The only way for our emotions and thinking to expand and elevate is through repentance, cleansing, release and forgiveness to ourselves, those who hurt us and all situations of the past that hurt us. We often want to bypass this critical step in the process but it cannot be avoided. We want an instant miracle, but the reality is we haven’t expanded our thinking enough to receive the miracle.
Negative emotions that build up over time sit in our spirits and our subconscious minds. Because we are blocked up and bound with negative emotions, we are not clear channels for our blessings to come in.
We become disappointed and disillusioned because we see that what we prayed for isn’t going to manifest on our time table. As a matter of fact, it may seem far delayed and unattainable. We commence to resisting the situation in our minds and emotions, grappling with the pain and the reality saying: “This is not what I thought God was going to do.”
God is mighty. God is sovereign. God can do anything, at anytime and anywhere. He can indeed perform a great and mighty miracle and may choose to do so in your individual situation. However, most of the time, God moves in the orderly unfolding of our lives over time, step-by-step, little by little, until we look back and see the miracle had been manifesting all along. Ponder further states, “God does not violate the orderly arrangement of events. Instead, He withholds the next development until order is first established in the present situation.” Our job is live our daily lives doing what we know to do next to increase order, be obedient and not give in to the problem.
A lot of times we miss the unfolding miracle right before our eyes because we are looking for some big, giant demonstration. We are looking for a big huge breakthrough all at once, the minute we put up a prayer.
We fail to realize that God is a God of process and order. Because He loves us so much, he will not create further chaos in our lives by giving us a miracle that we don’t have the capacity to handle correctly. Therefore, he waits for us to grow into the miracle and unfolds it gradually.
For the Good of All Concerned
When you pray do you really expect to receive an answer? Are you really ready for what it involves and what it is going to take? With great blessing comes great responsibility and usually significant changes. Do you really want it?
Better yet, is what you are praying for beneficial and good to everyone involved – not just you? God answers prayers in a way that serves His highest and best purposes for everyone involved and connected to your life, not just you and your personal world. God’s answers to prayer always serve a redemptive purpose in the midst of our mess. It’s never just about us. Selah, pause and calmly think of that!
When we pray, we must want everyone – including the people who did us wrong to be blessed also. We cannot put limits or parameters on how we want the blessing to come. This requires serious soul searching and sifting of the motives, movements and intents of our hearts when we pray. This brings to mind the many unanswered prayers that we have made. For some of those prayers, we may very well be glad that God did not answer on our timetable with our limited understanding and selfish motives. Oh how grateful I am that God did not answer some of my prayers!
We simply want to avoid this entire process. We want an instant manifestation without purification and preparation. We want to remain the same on the inside but have our outside circumstances change dramatically. This cannot be.
Take daily steps towards getting closer to God by renewing your mind and healing your emotions through prayer and affirmations. Over time lead this leads to massive change and ultimately what we call miracles.
Subtle shifts in thinking along with aligned action over time equals sustained change. Sustained change is better because you have renewed your thinking and fortified yourself on the inside to handle and maintain the change because you have been growing into it all along.
Quick and drastic change without ample internal preparation can lead to great distress and chaos. And as we know, God is not the author of confusion or chaos (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV).
I encourage you as I encourage myself. Surrender to the process. Let go of internal resistance to the situation. Do logically now what needs to be done. Take baby steps now to increase order. Be obedient where you are right now even if it hurts. Clean up your life. Repent and ask for forgiveness. Let go of all negativity. This is the key to moving from staying stuck to answered prayer!
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