Thoughts to Ponder

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--
1 Corinthians 2:9

My Way or No Way

I recently received a message from a woman who had visited my page. She had read my testimony and said that it had helped her understand in a small way what had happened to her husband. Her husband had just recently told her, he did not want or need her anymore. He moved out of the house. He is a Police Officer, and after reading my testimony, the wife thought she understood that the pressures of the job were what made her husband act the way he did.

She told me her husband was not a Christian. She asked me to pray that the Lord would send a Christian Police Officer to befriend him. She felt that he would listen to another Police Officer but probably not anyone else.

I wrote her and told her that I would pray for her and her husband. I also asked the other Police Officers who have their testimonies on my site to pray. I received a message back from her thanking me. One of the other Officers from my site also sent her an encouraging message, and after receiving that she wrote me back again and again thanked me for my prayers. She made the statement that she was sure that God would bring her husband back home to her.

I did pray for her and her family. I also felt compelled to write her again. In this message I told her that I would continue to pray for her and for her family. I also went on to tell her that I was praying that God would give her the strength and grace to handle whatever happened. I told her I was praying that way because God has given us all free will and He will not over ride that. I told her I believed that God would deal with her husband but none of us could know for sure if he would listen to God or not. I also told her that I knew that God knew even before she was born that she would go through this period and that God also knew even back then what decision her husband would make. I explained to her that I was sure no matter how this turned out God had a plan for her life that was perfect and that would eventually work out for her good.

She has not written me back again. I have to wonder why she would be so friendly and thank me for my support until I explained that we do not know what might happen, but that I believed God is in control. Is it possible that she does not really want God's will to be done, she wants her will done? Maybe she thinks she knows what is best for her even more than God does.

I think we are all tempted to feel this way sometimes. We know what we want and therefore we ask God to do that and nothing else. If God does not perform the way we want Him to and in the time period we think is appropriate we get upset. Isn't God listening to us? Didn't God say in His word that our prayers will be answered even before we are finished praying?

What good is an answer from God if it is not exactly what we want? How can God say no to us? If we have some disease or ailment and we pray to be healed, why in the world wouldn't God heal us? The answer to that might not be in this world! Maybe God wants to show Himself through our suffering. What better way to show God's grace and glory than through a person who is going through a deep valley in their life?

I heard a story once about a Christian man who had cancer. He and his family prayed daily for his healing. After a year or more of treatment, and prayer the doctor told the man that his cancer appeared to be totally gone. Of course the man and his family were very happy. But a strange thing happened a short time later. The man started complaining that he did not feel as close to God now that the cancer was gone. While he had been battling the cancer, the man had leaned on God daily and felt very close in his walk. Now that the cancer was gone there seemed to be a greater distance between him and the Lord.

To the surprise of friends and family the man began to pray that if it took cancer to bring him back to a closer walk with Christ, that the Lord give it back to him. The cancer did return and eventually the man succumbed to it and died.

This man realized that if we accept God's will for our life, everything else will take care of itself. It is not that he wanted to suffer as some people might think, it was that he wanted to be totally in God's will and he wanted to put his total trust in God on a daily basis.

Why would God allow us to suffer? Could it be that He knows it is what we need? Maybe it is that He knows the strength and grace we show while suffering is what someone else needs. When we demand that our wills be done instead of His we are saying what He wants is not important.

He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:38-39

There is no way you can read Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, and believe that He wanted to suffer on the cross. Jesus was God incarnate but He was also a man, who did not relish the thought of suffering. But He realized that what God wanted was more important than what He wanted. Aren't you glad Jesus did not say, "My way or no way!"?

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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