Rejoice always pray without ceasing! In everything, give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:16-18)
We have over-complicated prayer! Prayer is simply talking with and listening to God. Most of us have the talking part down, the listening part--not so much!
Lately my life has been a whirlwind. Earlier this year my husband and I gave up our sweet home, the one with deer (who ate my hostas and only MY hostas, though my neighbor had so much more than I did!) and the huge yard to move in with his parents. His dad was very ill and it was our mission to help them. Unfortunately his father passed away only four days after our move in. It was just his mom now and I made sure to keep her as comfortable as possible.
We spent all summer updating her 70 year old house. Believe me, it is NOT like you see on TV! The dust! The noise! Trying to keep things under control while maintaining a normal daily life...YIKES! It is ongoing.
Then a gal whom my husband had known since she was a child passed away suddenly. More stress. More sorrow. Work began for me once more with the arrival of a new school year. More stress. My husband's health, which has never been great, began to decline. There were whispers of the big, bad C word. Much more stress. Thankfully it wasn't cancer, but instead a narrowed esophagus and COPD. Now lifestyle choices would need to be moderated. Inwardly, I fell apart, first in fear...then in relief. My mom in law left for warmer climes in California and then.....finally, for the first time in ten months--silence.
I walked through a house that will be reasonably silent for the next six months. I looked at the work left undone. I thought about what has happened this year...such a roller coaster ride...and prayed. "Lord God...please...let me off!"
And for the first time this year, I caved in to my emotions. I cried. Not the tiny tears of when I had heard of my husband's potential health disaster, oh no. Then I had to "be strong!" Then I tried to "be still...and know that I am God!" I tried so hard to look for signs that I was being heard and found it in his "second chance miracle" (or is it third now? Long story there!) No, this time I bawled. I cried. I let out sobs of....of what? Frustration? Relief? Afterwards, I felt like a snow globe that was shaken to the point of a hurricane...and then like sand that had been dropped from an hourglass. Empty. Just so empty.
And then a still quiet Voice within me said, "now...it's all over. Try to get some sleep." And I did.
In all of the maelstrom that has been my life, I have known that God IS there. God IS with us. I talk to Him all the time. I sometimes wonder if perhaps He feels about me as I did this past year especially...."oh my, that gal AGAIN?!" and like any parent would, takes a big sigh and once again comes to my aid.
This is where we turn to Scripture to know just how much God loves us! He comes to the aid of His people time after time...after time. We are told to "be like little children." We are admonished to "wait upon the Lord." We are comforted in the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..." Amazingly enough, that realization came from a young shepherd boy, probably no older than 12 or 13, who sat alone with his sheep all throughout the warm months...what else could he do but to pray, right? "And a little child shall lead them..."
God is NOT some vending machine, you don't just plug in a request and get what you want. As the song goes, "if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need..." but you can't always get what you want. What I have found out from my 53 years of living is that the song is right, you don't always get your own way...and quite frankly why would you even want to? Studies have shown that lottery winners, after the initial rush of winning, usually end up being just the way they were only one year later--after spending all of that cash, they are who they were before. It is BECAUSE of the struggles that we endure that we become better (or hopefully that is the outcome.) "Yay, I just won 50 thousand dollars! I think I'll buy ______." But soon it gets old, it breaks, it loses its luster.
In my life, I look back and know that although I have not won a money lottery, when it comes to what has transpired thus far, the pain as well as the joy, I have won a far better lottery than I could have hoped for: Someone who loves me, Who hears me and Who is right beside me, in all of the pain and dreck as well as the joys and rainbows that come along with it. Back in the eighties, Foreigner had a song, "I Want to Know What Love is." It is a song about someone who yearns to feel love, to be loved. I have substituted God in the words: "I wanna know what love is, I want You to show me, I wanna feel what Love is, I know You can show me..." It is a beautiful song, with a choir singing the refrain, sung with all of the emotions of one who has been searching...searching and has finally found peace.
In your own life, don't ever give up the search, the yearning. Because God is right there, of that you can be certain. You want to know what Love is? Just ask
Him, reach out for Him. It is yours for the taking.