Last week I was challenged to pray for a specific answer to a certain situation.
This situation had my heart in a sort of disarray for a week and now I was being asked to pray for a specific answer.
This presented its challenges for a few reasons.
- I’ve come to realize I don’t pray much for specific answers but rather I pray in generalities. It’s safer there. I won’t be let down if God doesn’t answer. It’s easier to trust God for an answer someday down the road but not for right now. Therefore, praying in generalities is a buffer, a protection so I don’t get hurt or let down.
- Praying for a specific answer for this situation is terrifying. For multiple reasons, but primarily because I’m scared to miss God, scared that I’ll make a mistake, scared of what His answer may be.
- See above two points.
If you read all of those (if you didn’t, go back and read them), you will see a lot of red flags. At least you should.
- I’m scared the great God of the universe—who has never done wrong—will let me down. In other words, I’m saying I trust myself more than the Great Sovereign. Wow. #pride
- I’m saying I’m scared I’ll miss God. The focus is entirely on me and my ability to not miss God. Wow. #pride
- See above two points.
The bottom line, as my pastor/boss/second dad told me this week, is that I’m filled with unbelief. My heart was in chaos because I wasn’t letting the peace of God rule it.
“You’re not trusting God and are therefore attacking God’s character and integrity, goodness and love, because what you’re really saying is that He isn’t good enough or loving enough to speak and speak loudly enough for you not to miss Him.” -Bro. Michael
So there I was (am?) in a bubble of self-protection and withdrawing more and more into the chaotic anxiety.
“What if I hear God wrong? What if this is not even remotely close to God’s will? What if _____?” I ask my pastor.
“Pray,” he said. “Tell God you’re going to depend on Him and follow Him 100% to whatever you believe is His will, even if you’re wrong, trusting that He is good enough to stop you if you are.”
“Even before I know what the answer is?” I asked.
“Trust Him like that for the answer. Trust what you believe is His leading 100%, even if you’re wrong.” he said.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pray about it much in the couple of days following that conversation. I didn’t make time to write it all out and process it because I was scared. Putting things on paper is so permanent. And maybe this shouldn’t be permanently memorialized.
But this is it. The hard, gritty, raw lessons God is teaching me and using to chisel me into the image of His beloved Son who rescued me.
Seeking God about this and trusting Him for a clear and specific answer has become easier and easier and His Word has been sweeter and sweeter. There are many, many things I want to share with you about this journey the Lord has taken me on this last week, but I’ll just leave you with this.
In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had some crazy dreams that deeply troubled him. With sleep eluding him, he calls for the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and Chaldeans to come tell him his dream and its meaning. (I mean, that’s what I do when I have a weird dream, don’t you?)
So they all come before him and he commands them to tell him his dream—not the interpretation, mind you, he wants them to tell him the contents of his dream. So crazy, but not the craziest part. If they didn’t tell him his dream followed by its interpretation they would be torn limb from limb and their houses would be laid in ruins.
So no big deal.
Except they can’t do it.
The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” (Daniel 2:10-11)
This response didn’t exactly thrill the king. So, naturally, he decrees that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.
That included Daniel, God’s man.
A few things happen and Daniel comes before King Nebby to give him the answer he’s looking for to this dream dilemma. This is what he says (ahh, it’s so good!):
The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?”
Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these…
And then Daniel tells him his dream and what it means.
This is what I love:
“No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries…”
YES. There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries and He hasn’t changed. The same God who revealed that dream to Daniel is the same God who now lives inside of me through the person of the Holy Spirit.
And if God could reveal to Daniel the specifics of a dream SOMEONE ELSE DREAMED, we can trust Him for specific answers.
God’s leadership isn’t dependent on our ability to hear but His ability to speak.
As I was sharing with a friend this week, God has promised to lead you and guide you and cause you to understand (Ps. 32:8-9). He has promised to make your paths straight when you trust in Him and lean not on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6). He has promised to be a lamp to your feet and a light for your path (Ps. 119:105), and I’m learning (again) that doesn’t mean an entire illuminated walkway but the next step or two.
Bro. Michael reminded me that even if the peace of God is ruling our hearts, it doesn’t mean there is a complete absence of fear but a confident resting in Him despite any lingering doubts or fears. And His leadership isn’t dependent on our ability to hear but His ability to speak.
And there’s so much safety and rest and security in that. Trusting God to lead is risk-free. The risk comes when we trust ourselves and (I) withdraw into self-protection instead of letting the God of peace give the peace of God which guards and protects our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7, 9).
So, instead of cocooning myself in wisps of supposed security, I’m praying and believing the God in heaven who reveals mysteries, staking all I am on the Judge of all the earth who will do right.
Will you join me?