I wanted to share with you today a short post recording something that God did for me today, and subsequently something that He taught me. Let me begin by explaining that I have a chronic illness; I won’t go into many details, I may write about that later, but understanding this is an important premise for the story I am about to tell you. This morning when I woke up, I was experiencing a great deal of difficulty from my condition. When your body starts behaving so abnormally, it is scary. I tried everything, and I tried to be calm, but I was so desperate, perhaps even more so than I realized. I felt miserable and my body was sending signals that something was terribly wrong, even though in all reality it was fine, it just felt that way because of my condition. In my anxiety I cried out to the Lord, and I asked him to just please give me some relief. He did not, at least not right away. I stressfully continued to perhaps inadvertently beg for Him to relieve me again. He did not respond the way that I wanted. Finally after a few minutes, I felt a song rising in my heart as he somewhat soothed the anxiety that was pressuring through my body because of my physical symptoms, and as I sang, request was answered. Sweet and generous relief was given at least for a moment. I was very thankful and I realized that God doesn’t want us to beg, he wants us to praise. He wants us to ask for what we need of course, but He wants us to ask out of trust and then wait for him to give us what we need at the proper time. I was asking, and that was good! But my physical infirmity led to an anxious heart that was not willing to wait. I wanted relief “now” because I was frightened, even though I was trying very hard not to be. I forgot in that moment that we are supposed to bring our worship and our praise before we bring our needs before him, and then we are to wait with a calm and quiet heart as He responds, on the timeline that he wants. I was asking, but in fact I went beyond asking. I was begging out of anxiety and physical stress and pain. I didn’t understand why He would not help me, or so it seemed. In fact He did help me, and although there was not evidence of this I know because He said so in His word. I have often told Him “I cannot bear this pain…I can’t handle it” as I sat in the middle of great physical pain that comes with this infirmity. But little by little He teaches me that I can, because He will give me the strength. I do not need the ease from pain that I feel I do and tend to desperately plead for when I am in the middle of this physical storm, for he strengthens me. Rather I need to be still and wait for He will answer me when I call according to His own good and perfect will. He desires to deliver us but He wants our praise, not our pleading. Our blessing not our begging. The kind of begging I am talking about is not the earnest request that He delights in and expects from us. The kind of begging I am talking about comes out of desperation and is bred from an anxious heart and unbelief, or the kind of begging like a child who wants his way. Praise instead, is what he looks for. He desires steadfast love from His little ones, not sacrifice. The moment I began to sing to Him out of a true worshipping heart is the moment that relief came to me. I can hear Jesus saying “my precious child, do not be afraid. I hear you, and I see you. I will surely answer you, but I want you to be still first, and trust me. I have numbered the hairs on your head, and I know what you need before you ask. Of course I will help you, of course I will give you what you need…I desire your love, not your labor of sacrifice. Do not beg, my child. I see you and I will provide for you. There is no need for begging or unbelief. Trust me…thank me, sing to me, and be still. It’s alright if being still does not come naturally…I myself will teach you to be still. Let your heart become quiet with trust. I know all, I see all, and I will answer all according to my perfect will”. Friends no matter what it is…do not beg out of anxiety; ask, but do it with a quiet heart. Before you ask, and as you wait, remember to praise His holy name. For He is worthy, and He is good, and He sees you and exactly what you need. Do not be afraid…sing to the Lord.
And now Father reach your heart around the world and touch the hurting with love. Teach us not to beg but rather to trust. Teach us to have quiet and grateful hearts that trust you and ask expectantly, knowing that you hear us and see us, and will give us what we need according to your perfect will. You desire that we ask, but that we ask with quietness and trust. Help us with that Father, for your children are an anxious people, so prone to desperation and worry, and not equipped to face life’s storms and temptation without you. You are the vine and we are the branches…we agree with you that without your power we can do nothing. So walk with us, stand with us in our temptation to beg out of anxiety and unbelief. Teach our hearts to sing. Let not your word return to you void. Amen.