Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shepastor: “Stop Demanding an Answer, Ask for Guidance…”

4 Show me the right path, O LORD;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O LORD, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
Psalm 25: 4-6, NLT

Some are of the opinion that it is never right to question God. That theology, however, does not necessarily square with scripture. Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures, we find the people of God wrestling with questions, grappling with life’s conundrums, struggling to understand suffering and taking their queries and frustrations directly to God Himself.

Moses asked,
“Who should I say sent me?” (Exodus 3: 13)

Habakkuk asked, “How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?” (“Habakkuk 1:2)

The Psalmist asked, “O LORD, why do you stand so far away?
Why do you hide when I am in trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)

Jesus asked, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46)

Paul asked for the thorn to be removed from his side… (II Corinthians 12:8)
Certainly, we have many and varied examples of God’s people asking him questions. Personally, I believe God welcomes our questions, our honesty, our open and frank emotions presented to him at the altar of our hearts. However, when heartfelt questions evolve into rants and demands, it may be a sign that we need to take a step back and quiet ourselves before the Lord.

Recently, as I wrestled with something for which there has not been an answer (for some time now), I found myself entering the “demand mode…” “God, what is the answer? When will things change?” I went to sleep with a heart filled with frustration.

The next morning during prayer and devotion, I was drawn to Psalm 25. Verses 4 and 5 declare,

4 Show me the right path, O LORD;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.

As I read the commentary on those verses, the commentator’s words spoke deeply to my spirit, “Stop demanding an answer and ask for guidance.” In that moment, I heard the Lord speak tenderly to my heart… “I see you, I know that you are frustrated…ask me for guidance and direction instead of demanding answers.” God’s peace came over me and I said, “Yes Lord, I receive your instruction.”

The place where we find ourselves at any given time is not a surprise to God. Through prayer and faith we must remember that God has allowed us to be in this space at this time for however long for a reason. Rather than banging our heads against the proverbial wall and becoming angry and frustrated with God, may we hear God’s invitation to ask for guidance.

Rather than getting stuck in “Why…How long…What good is this doing?” May we turn our hearts towards asking, “Lord, guide me through this…show me your will in this season…order my steps in your Word…help me to make wise and right choices…lead me in the way that I should go…show me how to give you glory in the midst of it all.”

If we will trust God and change our demands to humble requests for guidance, God’s peace will overtake us, God’s wisdom will guide us, God’s love will lift us and God’s Spirit will empower us.

Stop demanding an answer and start asking for guidance. God has surprises in the making!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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