Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Faith and attitude

Prayer is so mysterious. If God knows everything we need, and has a perfect plan that takes into account every contrary action we, and everyone else does… What’s the point? Well, clearly it’s for our benefit - not His - that He tells us to pray. There must be something that we learn from the process. I’m embarrassingly new to the whole thing. I mean serious prayer beyond, “Thank you for the food.” And, “Help me feel better.” Now that I have started a list, and am being faithful about seeking God, I’m at a new level. And as a result new issues are coming up. Here are a couple…

I think I disobeyed a direct order from ‘On High’ last week. My friend was in the middle of a panic attack, and I was talking to her on the phone to distract her from it. (I was told that might help.) I felt like I should pray with her. But I felt like she wouldn’t understand, and possibly be offended by that. And mostly… mostly I didn’t have the faith that God would help her; thus making me and God seem foolish to her. So I prattled on in my usual distracting manner, accomplishing little, and slighting God. Since then I have added her to my prayer list and pray for her every day. But I’m sad that I don’t have the faith required to make a little social leap-of-faith like I was supposed to. It points to a deeper theological problem I have. I don’t understand healing prayer, and I have a lot of trouble doing things that I don’t understand. (Or think I understand!) I do it. But I can’t imagine that I’m doing any good since I don’t believe anything will happen. I don’t get that confused with the idea that nothing can happen. I’m sure it does. I’ve seen things improve. I’ve seen people healed. I’ve heard testimony from very credible people concerning such things. But mostly I believe it because God said it in the Bible. However, there are the obvious cases-in-point of all the times that healing doesn’t happen. For whatever reason, (lack of faith, ordained fate, etc.) that is a reality. So when I feel like I should step out in faith, like in this situation, I have two layers of doubt holding me back. First: I’m not sure that the impulse is from God. Second: if it’s not, then God probably won’t do it. Which I suppose is really only one problem. I don’t have enough experience hearing His Spirit and having that confirmed. So I don’t know if I should act upon feelings that I only think are from Him.

There seems to be a difference between a slow-burning faith that informs big-picture decisions, and the kind of rapid-response faith that is required for this type of thing. I am pretty secure in my faith when it comes to my abiding, deep convictions, and how they play out in my life. I am confidant that God has been blessing and directing me. I have no doubt that He will continue to do so. That is why I am basically at peace. Sure there are all sorts of surface stuff that are going on. Struggles with the flesh and such. But deep down, like a foundation of solid rock, I am completely at peace. So why does this faith not manifest itself in spur-of-the-moment spiritual leadings? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just an experience thing.

Another epiphany I’ve had while praying came up as I asked God for the 300th time how I should pray for my ex-wife. I’ve written about how I find it difficult to pray for her redemption and restoration, since I am guessing that I would have to be involved in it. My convictions have been telling me to hang on and wait for her. So I’ve been kind of doing that, … but not really. Though I’ve made it clear to myself and others that I don’t plan to pursue any type of romance until the issue is resolved, I haven’t had the corresponding attitude. I’ve felt pretty justified in this attitude since she’s the one that did the leaving, and she’s not showing any signs of coming back, and I wouldn’t want her to anyway, etc. But the fact is that none of these romantic shenanigans that I’ve been talking about would have happened while I was married. Why? Because I had a different attitude. I was exclusive to my wife and never even considered looking away from that. Now I’m away from her and officially divorced, but God has not given me freedom from my marriage. (Or I can’t see past whatever is holding me back.) But I lost that feeling of commitment to her and her well-being that I once had. My attitude is totally different, and not at all like that of a man who is committed to another. So I think I’ve been spinning my wheels here because I can’t accomplish God’s will for ‘us’ while I’m considering myself ‘me’, and separate from her. I’m still hoping that His will would not include a reunion. Which is an attitude in itself. But at least it’s an honest one. This whole business of being unavailable but also not-spoken-for, is not. And I think it has been undermining my prayers for her, which should be prayers for ‘us’. I have no idea why… Maybe there is still a significant spiritual connection between us. There seems to be scriptural support for that. Perhaps it is only through me that she will find her way back. I don’t know. But in faith, I can pray that God would change my attitude towards her to align with His. That would take a miracle for sure. I really can’t imagine loving her again. But through God, all things are possible.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

Hey man,

I can identify with you there with the fear caused by thoughts like "But I felt like she wouldn’t understand, and possibly be offended by that."

I go to Bellevue Christian School and I find that there aren't really that many strong Christians there. I'm afraid of living out my faith at a Christian school. How weak is that? It's something I really struggle with, because I'm afraid of hurting people, of turning them away from God, of making myself look stupid, etc. But it's those things I need to learn to give up and give in to faith.

Anyway, I'm only just learning this stuff. I've lived most of my life as a lukewarm "Christian" and I'm only beginning to discover the path that God wants me to be walking on.

God bless you and I'll be praying for you.

- Ben

6:24 PM  

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