Wednesday, August 3, 2011

His Ways Past Finding Out

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! ~ Romans 11:33

Here's what I read this morning by Oswald Chambers:

We have no conception of what God is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague. God's aim looks like missing the mark because we are too short sighted to see what He is aiming at. Naturally, our ambitions are our own; in the Christian life we have no aim of our own. There is so much said today about our decisions for Christ, our determination to be Christians, our decisions for this and that, but in the New Testament it is the aspect of God's compelling that is brought out. "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." We are not taken up into conscious agreement with God's purpose, we are taken up into God's purpose without any consciousness at all.

God's purpose has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been praying for certain people in my life for what feels like quite some time. And it seems like God just isn't moving. You know what I mean? Nothing is happening. At least from my point of view. (I already know that God wants them to walk with Him, but they are choosing not to, and He has given them that free will.)

At times I start to feel, "What good are my prayers when they have a free will to do whatever they want anyway?" And on the other side, "If God is sovereign, then what good is it to pray earnestly for these people?"

Of course, Jesus taught us to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1). Paul taught us to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). And "God is not unrighteous to forget [my] work and labour of love..." (Hebrews 6:10).

I have a long way to go in understanding the doctrines of predestination, foreknowledge, and sovereignty, but I do know that God wants me to pray. I don't know God's purpose. I don't always see where He is working in someone's life. And I don't always see what He is doing in my own life through learning patience in prayer! But I can be sure, He is good and up to something good! And He will work all  things together for good (Romans 8:28). Why? To conform me to the image of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29)!

There was a rough period in my life when my mom would often start singing this song to encourage me:

Though you cannot see and you can't quite understand,
Remember God is still in control;
He has promised to bring you through somehow,
And He's working even now!

God is working, He's still working,
God is working even now;
Though we often don't know just how,
God is working, He's still working,
God is working even now.

Carol Cymbala, sung by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego come to mind. In Daniel 3:17-18, they answered King Nebuchadnezzar, who had threatened to throw them into the fiery furnace:

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. BUT IF NOT..."

What if we took this attitude toward prayer?

I am asking for certain things, God, and I believe You are able and willing to ________. BUT IF NOT, (if You don't choose to allow it to happen the way I would like), I will still love, live for, walk with You, and trust in You, because You are sovereign and You are good.

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