Every once in a while I get to teach a Sunday School class. I actually started this blog when I had a class "of my own" as a way to communicate and encourage and supplement what was going on in that class, but the blog pretty much took a direction of its own. That class no longer exists so my teaching, and I use the term "teaching" in its lightest application possible, takes place as an occasional substitute or fill-in these days. So, anyway, the quote above was the theme of a class I "taught" this past Sunday as we looked at "But, if not", as in "but, if God says no . . . or delays His answer."
To be asked to take the class on this particular day with this particular subject material was a true God-send to me. I picked the book up Wednesday evening, Masterwork, got home and opened it up to see what we were going to be looking at, and my reaction was, "I don't need to be teaching this, I need to learning this."
As Christians we all deal with this question many times over in our lives. I have been dealing with it "hot and heavy" of late. I'm thankful that God reaches out to us to change our way of thinking - renewing our minds - and bringing new insights and understanding to matters that seem only to grow more and more confusing the more we try to figure them out on our own. Sometimes we just have things out of order. We can get so focused on our need, or our want, and we naturally question ourselves and our standing before God when things don't come the way we want them to or a situation is not resolved in the way that seems best to us. We focus on and act out "the why". "Why didn't God do this? Why doesn't God answer my prayer? Is it God, or is it me? What have I done to deserve this? Have I gone too far? Have I lived my life in a way that God simply is not going to do for me? What do I have to straighten out in my life before God will act? Have things gone too far? Is it hopeless now? How can even God turn this around at this point?" These are just a few of the questions we can find ourselves asking.
The simple, and true, answer is found in the quote I started with.
He has already done the single most compassionate thing He could possibly do for you by sending Jesus to the cross. Nothing you could want or need will ever approach the level of compassion it took for that great event. God's compassion for your cause? You're covered!
He has already exerted the greatest amount of power on your behalf through Christ's resurrection that any matter of your life will ever require. God is infinitely powerful, so there is no comparison to be made. But, if there were, following the resurrection, the power required by any of our wants or needs would be like God lifting His little finger by comparison. God's ability to accomplish your cause? You're covered!
In short, God has all the love and compassion for you that it takes to do anything you want or ask. AND, He possesses all the power it will take to accomplish anything you ask of Him.
So, if you don't get what you are asking for, or if it is delayed, it is not due to a lack of love or compassion or ability on God's part.
God's answer to our prayer is less about the object or the situation than it is about what He wants to do in our lives or how He wants to use us in His great master plan. If we have paid more than lip service to our pleas - "Father, all I want is what You want." "Take me, mold me, make me into what You would have me to be." "Use me." "Bless others through me." "Bless me." "BE GLORIFIED IN ME!" - He IS going to do just that. He IS DOING just that.
If we turned our wants and needs and desires, our will, over to Him, then He is using us, or fitting us, for His glory - so that He can be seen and honored in our lives. It doesn't always feel that way and certainly doesn't always look that way. I have actually asked - loudly - "God, where is Your Glory in all this? How does THIS glorify You? Is THIS what You really want?" ( and it is always where my own wants have led me)
2 Corinthians 3:18 "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."
We have to spend a lot of time in the transformation process, so we are being taken "from glory to glory". We may, in a sense, be between glories, but God's character, His glory, will emerge as we emerge transformed by His work in, and on, our lives. In every situation we will get what we ultimately want - God's will and His glory to show through - even if it turns out not to be what we asked for in a moment or a season of worldly want or need.
"As I pray, I will measure your compassion by the cross, and your power by the resurrection."
Acknowledge this in your conversations with God. Repeat it in the midst of your greatest difficulties. All we need is there in Him, and by the cross and the resurrection, has been freely offered to us all. When we accept His greatest gift, what is "there in Him" is suddenly here in us as His Holy Spirit moves in. All is fulfilled, and we are living it out.
I wish I had said all this in Sunday School last week. . . . glad to say it now as we begin a weekend set aside for observing the cross and the resurrection. Celebrate it!
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