Why am I surprised when God answers my prayers with a YES!? I want to say, “of course, I believed this would happen! Of course, my prayers and desires weren’t too big.” God can and WILL bless the work He has called me to do.
But I struggle to say those words. I wonder if my faith is too small? Or if my faith journey has been punctuated so often by struggle and doing hard things with God, I assume that is the way things will inevitably be.
I think about Hannah, who prayed – literally begged- God for a child for 10 years! Did her faith waver? How did her heart reconcile her longing with the waiting and wondering? How did her faith stay strong when each month the tell tale signs of an empty womb pierced her heart with disappointment and sorrow?
I wonder if my fear of believing God will do miracles in my life is more of a protection against that same heartache. I want to be bold in my prayers and strong in my faith, but I hesitate.
My best friend challenged me to pray big bold prayers and believe God would surprise me with more than I could ask or think. Oh, how I wanted to…but this was my reply:
“I know, but…me and God, we can do hard things, my faith is strong when it comes to knowing God will get me through tragedy, sorrow, or struggle. But I am terrified to believe God will lavish me with the desires of my heart.”
Stunned at the power of my resistance, I stopped mid sentence and let the conviction and beliefs behind those words sink in.
A few months back, I felt God nudging me to pray for more Faith. The kind of faith that is expectant and confident in God’s hand moving on my behalf. Faith that says, more than, “I know God can.” Faith that says, “I know God will!”
Everything in my theological arsenal resists this as being too simplistic. Faith and walking with God is more complicated… I know, I have lived it.
But what if simple really requires childlike faith? My kids believe I willingly do good things for them, cheerfully act on their behalf -in fact they expect it- because of my love for them. How can God be any different?
The Spirit whispered, “Will you believe, or at least pray for more faith?”
Reluctant, afraid of being disappointed, but convicted that clearly this was what God wanted, I began to pray.
For more faith… childlike, expectant, hopeful faith.
When the tidal wave of doubts crashed into my fragile hope, or thoughts and taunts of “brace yourself for disappointment.” echoed in the recesses of my mind, I asked God to help me let go and relinquish my security blanket of self protection and fear. It was a tug of war.
I read God’s promises, I reminded myself of all the goodness I had seen God do in my life. I spoke words of truth -out loud- to drown out the skeptical, seasoned faith grown in the wilderness.
It was hard. I wanted to hedge my bets, and give God an out. You know, just in case it wasn’t God’s will for things to go well with my book. Maybe I had misunderstood… I battled grasping any escape hatch or just in case provisions.
I felt silly for wanting so much, and foolish for my vast lack of belief. Would I have been like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak just to be healed? Would my faith be that strong and convinced of God’s power and goodness?
I wrestled with my lack of faith, which I had disguised as maturity that knows life is hard and disappointment, pain and sorrow are part of it. I clung to every small sign I could find that confirmed joy and blessing are part of life with God.
And I prayed… “Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief.” How many times have I shared this in a talk, seminar or client meeting, as a sign of faith. Acute awareness of how hard it is to actually take the advice I hand out so easily.
All along, I have prayed that God would be glorified in this process, in the book’s success, and most of all in my life.
So this is me, sharing with you the Goodness of God, visible and lavish… I prayed God would surprise me with more than I could ask or think! (I wonder if what I asked and thought was too little or small?)
God reminded me time and again to do what I could and then let go. Trust Him to bring a harvest greater than the seeds I planted. Lay my self reliance on the altar – open hands, expectant heart and quiet mind, the marks of obedience.
I am thrilled to share this success with you. Not just because it is totally awesome to see #1 New Release, or #1 Bestseller next to my book… IT IS!! But even more thrilling is the journey of faith it took to get here.
The battle to set aside my intellect, experience, and self protection and throw my heart over the line in faith. Feeble at times, but committed to believing.
Having walked through much struggle and heartache in my life, I assume this is my path. God has used it to grow me, to bless others as we do hard together. But to have an utterly new one laid out before me is incredible. I am daring to believe a little more each day.
I am learning to look at God and see the Papa who loves this winsome, worried, wild girl and delights in me…longing to bless me, lavish me with love…
I just want to throw my hands in the air, yell wheee and hang on for the ride!