Monday, March 8, 2010

Asking God for Help

The following was shared by a staff member at this afternoon's meeting. Written by Michael Lane, is was found on the Delve Into Jesus website. Click here for the original posting.
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:6-7)

I think we sometimes miss the point of petitioning God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking God for things we need or even things we want. The important thing to keep in mind is that actually getting the thing we're asking for is the least important part of the whole process.

This seems counterintuitive. Why ask for something if you don't care if you get it? I'm not saying you should not care about the issue which is troubling you; I'm saying you should not be concerned with the exact outcome. We need to trust God to solve the problem His way.

Suppose you're having trouble making ends meet and you're not sure how you will pay this month's bills. You may ask God to send you some extra money. You may ask God to help you find a better paying job. In all likelihood, God is not going to do either of those things, though it's certainly possible. The point is that it really doesn't matter how God decides to solve the problem. By asking God for help, you have admitted that you need Him, and that is what really matters. How God decides to deal with the issue is immaterial, but rest assured He will intervene in the best way possible.

God does not want you to depend on a particular solution; He wants you to depend on Him.

Asking for God's help in all situations is a very important part of our relationship with Him. When you ask for God to help, you are indirectly saying that you trust Him and that you need Him. You are admitting your weakness and acknowledging His strength. You are submitting and surrendering to Him.

But what are we saying to God if we never ask for His help? We are saying we don't need Him. We are sending the message that we have no need of His blessing or protection and we want to go it alone.

Another reason to ask for God's help is not to seek a specific outcome, but rather to receive His comfort, support and peace. God may not provide a direct resolution to every difficulty in our lives, but He will comfort us. When you seek God during times of trouble, large or small, you are saying, "God, be with me during this time. Let my thoughts be with you and let me feel your presence."

Fail to bring your cares to God, and you are not only saying, "I don't need you" but also, "I don't want you around right now. I'm busy dealing with this problem."

As is so often the case, Jesus provides us with the example.

Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, "Sit here while I go on ahead to pray." He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress. He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me." He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine." (Matthew 26:36-39)

Let's first take note of the fact that the night before His greatest trial and suffering, Jesus wants nothing more than to spend time with the Father. Though He must be weary and worn out as His disciples are, there is no greater priority for the Lord than to pray.

But what is perhaps more surprising is that Jesus is asking for something He knows He cannot have. When Jesus asks, "Let this cup be taken from me", He is perfectly aware that it is the Father's will for Him to proceed, so why even ask?

Jesus speaks these words not to seek a result, but simply to express His anguish and anxiety. Jesus is not asking for a reprieve; He is asking for comfort. Just as we must do, Jesus is asking His father to be with Him, support Him and give Him the strength to endure what must be done.

This is the pattern our prayers must follow. Tell the Lord everything you need and share with Him every care and worry that is on your mind. Don't seek a resolution, but seek God instead and you will receive peace and comfort, along with God's best solution thrown in for free. It almost certainly won't be the solution you had in mind, and it may not be easy to endure, but it will be the right solution in the long run.

1 comment:

  1. What I find most interesting in Matthew 26, Jesus takes 3 of his disciples with him. He leaves them to go pray and comes back to find them sleeping 3 times in a row! This truly shows the weakness of our human condition. The disciples were physically in the presence of God incarnate and they still couldn't stay focused! I pray that we all stay awake and be tuned in at all times to what Christ is doing in our world. He is doing His work through relationships in this messed up world, with or without ME. I want to be part of it. God bless!!