March 14, 2016
Our Wants, God’s Will
“I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria ...” 2 Kings 20:6a (NLT)
Several years ago it seemed my mother’s time to meet the Lord face‑to‑face had come.
She had contracted an unidentifiable infection in her lungs following a routine gall bladder surgery. The doctors told us nothing else could be done to save her. As we sat in the Intensive Care Unit waiting room, my family prayed and wept. If only God would heal my mom and allow her to stay here on earth a while longer.
Listening to the machines whoosh and beep, my mind roamed to a familiar prayer request in the Old Testament. Difficulties and hardships are no respecters of time or position, and King Hezekiah was no exception.
The king had reached the prime of his life. Extreme wealth filled his coffers. He had achieved military success. Long-awaited peace rested over his kingdom, Jerusalem. You might say things were smooth sailing for him. Yet, without notice, a terminal illness struck the great king.
Hezekiah responded as any of us would if faced with such news. He prayed and wept. He reminded God of his faithful service and wholehearted devotion and begged for more time. This is how God answered him: “I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria …” (2 Kings 20:6a)
My family took a page out of Hezekiah’s prayer book and reminded the Lord of my mother's wholehearted devotion to Him. We begged for more time. Like Hezekiah, God sustained my mom’s life here on earth — over 20 years and counting!
I rejoice daily over God’s gift of life to my mother. Yet I’m aware that many of my prayers aren’t answered the way I desire. I have prayed for other faithful servants to recover from illnesses, yet they’ve passed away at an age that seemed too young to me.
I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve wrestled with God over this. My rationalization goes something like this: “Lord, they could have done more good for Your kingdom. He should have been able to raise his children in a godly manner. She would have served others in Your Name. Now they can’t.”
Can you relate to my ponderings?
After losing a dear friend, I knew I had to work out my questions once and for all. There was only one place to take them — Scripture.
Studying prayer in the Bible, I found the answer I’d been searching for: When praying, I need to focus on God’s will, not solely my wants. Then I can expect Him to hear and know that no matter His answer, He will bring good out of even the hardest situation. This isn’t an easy thing to grasp when the answer is losing a loved one, but I am learning to lean on the Lord’s wisdom when circumstances feel hard.
Neither my heart nor my mind are equipped to handle or understand the big picture. But God sees the beginning from the end and gives what is good. Difficulties and hardships will strike each of us at different times in our lives. Our best response to them is to cry out to God in prayer, according to His will and rest in His trustworthy answer.
Lord, forgive me for the times I have focused more on my wants than Your will. I know in my head that Your will is perfect; please help me believe with my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” (NLT)
1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (ESV)
Don’t allow unrest to settle in your heart. Trusting God for A Better Tomorrow: A Psalms Bible Study by Wendy Pope will help you to embrace the peace available to you in Christ Jesus. Wendy’s book is available in e‑book and soft cover.
Stop by Wendy’s blog for more encouragement on trusting God.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When circumstances are hard and have you tongue‑tied, you might pray this prayer for comfort and strength. You can follow the example Jesus gave when He taught His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9‑13:
“Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (NLT)
© 2016 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 14 March 2016.