Sunday, June 13, 2010

GOD – Our Answer Or Our Answer-er?

As I continue my journey in the ministry God has given me, I must confess I am still learning about how much grace God has availed to me by his presence alone. Many times, too many actually, I find that only in my moments of inadequacy and insufficiency do I really avail myself to the grace of his presence alone. I can still recall how, a few years back, an old friend in the terminal stages of cancer asked me to handle her funeral needs. Thus, it also fell to me, as the only pastor she related to, to walk with her through this final stage of her life – a daunting task indeed, considering my pastoral experience then. Her faith in my ministry has led me to seek God’s presence to a greater degree, to pray more fervently and urgently.

All of us face such pivotal moments in life. It may be about choosing a career or someone to marry. It may involve making some intricate choices for your difficult or special child. There may be a conflict in the office that has implications on your future prospects. Perhaps, your wife and children have to leave their friends behind as you uproot to another location for your career’s sake.

These moments are crossroads that signal to us the end of our own self-sufficiency. We realize that we need to turn to God for a clear direction. To realize this is good but our problem is we come to God on our terms. We crave to hear his mighty voice proclaim loudly the turn we should make. We tell him our needs but we demand an answer immediately. We search for verses that corroborate the answer we want. We desperately look for signs that God has answered our prayer. If you have ever acted so, welcome to the club, you are not alone.

Larry Crabb reminds us “Unless we become like little children who approach our heavenly Papa just to be near him, something in our hearts will keep us confused and frustrated when we ask God what we want” (The PAPA Prayer). This means that, in prayer, we approach God to hear what he has to say to us and not because we want him to give us what we ask for. We approach God because he is the answer to our prayer and not merely the answer-er to our prayer. There is a difference.

Think of how you would want your children to approach you. Will you not prefer your children to approach their papa/mama with adoration, just for the pure pleasure of being in the presence of papa/mama? Will it not warm your heart to know that your children their papa/mama with thanksgiving because of all the goodness they have ALREADY received instead of what they hope to get with their future requests? In prayer, God is not the audience, we are. God-seekers must seek to hear God first and not vice-versa. Therefore, let us then make seeking God our most important activity as Christians. Let us make this our prime pursuit in our journey through this life on earth.

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