Those are the roles of Master and servant. The servant has no control or role in the ultimate plans of the Master, right?
If we had control in what God does then our marriages would be restored when we asked. Our loved ones would be healed from cancer when we asked. Our children would be free from addictions when we asked. Our ministries would be fruitful when we asked. We ask for many "good" and righteous things that would bring God glory. He would be glorified in a productive ministry leading others to Christ. He would be glorified in marriages being restored. He would be glorified in healed bodies. All these good things we ask would show His power in our lives and would be a testimony for all to see. So, why don't they always happen? That is the HUGE mystery of life and one of the greatest questions of so many of His children. So, we sit back and resolve...His Will will be done regardless of what we do. We might as well just do nothing and wait for the Master to do, provide, instruct, lead, heal. Because He is sovereign and we cannot over turn or over power Him or His will that will ultimately be fulfilled, right?
Maybe not...stay with me. God's love for us is so great. We cannot say He acts based on our faith or our petitions because then those unanswered prayers would make us/others feel unloved. Yet, we can see so many times that God does answer the pleas of His children. God does change His mind and His plans...at least His initial plans. God has full power and full reign to change His mind midcourse.
God was so moved to change by the pleas of faithful men such as Abraham, Moses, and Jonah. So what makes us think He wouldn't change His mind for another of His faithful people? He may. He can. Would we want to risk being the one for which He would've changed His mind but didn't because we failed to cry out in faith persistently?
Without prayer we have no hope.
No hope of change.
No hope of healing.
No hope of restoration.
No hope of anything.
God told Abraham He would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah unless Abraham could find 50 righteous people. Abraham bantered back and forth with God and God finally said He wouldn't destroy the city if Abraham found 10 righteous people.
Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." Genesis 18:20-21
Abraham's harsh reply: Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Genesis 18:25 Wow to be so bold with the Almighty Lord. I admire Abraham's boldness but don't know if I could do such. But then, my relationship with God is far from what Abraham and His was.
After bantering back and forth, the result is this: Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." Genesis 18:32
God was angry at the Israelites as they were impatient waiting for Moses. They melted all their gold into idols. God wanted to destroy the Israelites to burn in His wrath. Moses begged Him not to do such. Moses reminded God of His promise to bring multitudes through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.' " Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. Exodus 32:13-14 God thought twice. Moses was not asking for something of his own but merely reminding God of His promise and plan.
When Jonah was in the fish, he urged the people to turn from their ways so that God would change His mind and not destory them. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened. Jonah 3:8-10
God in His loving character listened (and listens) to His children's cries for mercy. These scriptures show me to be persistent with God. He shows us He does answer. He does change His mind. He does hear the persistency in us. If we are not persistent on our pleas, then how will we ever know if we stopped our petitions just short of Him answering and changing His mind? How will we know if we stopped believing this side of the miracle?
We may never know why some requests are not answered in the manner we expect. We may never know why He changes His mind in some pleas. We may not understand why He seems to move mountains to change one situation and not another. We do know He will not force His will on us. Many situations involve two or more people. We have to understand that while one person is asking for "this", the other party may not be listening to God and may be drifting in another direction away from God's desires. God will do everything He can to lead that wandering person back onto His course but He will not lean down, pick him up, and place him back on course. He can't. God is love and just as He doesn't force us to love Him, God does not force us to follow Him and His plan. All we can do as the person seeking to obey is to continue to present our requests and believe God will hear our plea and answer. If it can't be in the manner we desire (and He desires) then I believe He will give us something greater. He sees those faithfully trusting and knows many times it takes three to believe. (God, me/you, and the other person.) Yet, God is so merciful that I believe He rewards our faith and knows that we did all that was in "our" control outside of the other person(s) possibly involved.
It is because of this belief and faith that I personally feel I cannot give up on my God and what He can do...and prayerfully will do. We never know how hard He is working to move in a situation. But like I said, He will not lean down and swoop the person or persons to work in one accord...that is for each person to decide. He calls us to believe and our mountains will be thrown into the sea.
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:21-22
Believe and not doubt.
I cannot tell you how much that scripture convicts me. Especially since I know what I'm asking and believing lines up with God's divine Word. I feel I cannot escape what His Word says in black and white...and so clearly. I can't escape the conviction of this scripture and many others. How can I justify walking away from my stand, my beliefs, my petitions?
I never want to find myself on a different path than what I'm believing now and then hear this from the Lord. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:21.
When this scripture was the second hit on my search on biblegateway.com, I was immediately succom to tears. I don't want to turn from the beliefs of restoration, head down another path (possibly even a happy one), and hear these words from my Lord. Yet, I'm also torn because I'm so tired of standing. I feel I've lost the strength to believe with such faith. I want complete healing but can't receive it while in limbo waiting...wondering...not if God will perform a mighty miracle but if others will heed to His calling and His instructions.
One of my devotionals put it this way. "By the way, unless you know everything that God knows, please do not write and tell us, 'Nothing is happening in our marriage.' The One who makes toys* is at work, year around, on the opposite side of your mountain of circumstances." *The Letters stand for "Thinking of You" and the toys are what our Lord God is giving to us for Christmas. (RM, 12/23/08)
"From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth - He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do." Psalm 33:13-15
Believing with Hope,