“Your post is awaiting moderation” is something we bloggers see a lot.
When we comment on someone else’s blog, depending on their settings, our comments have to wait for their approval before they’re displayed.
Ever felt like your prayer is awaiting moderation? in heaven? For, like, decades?
Prayers have four answers: Yes, wait-then-yes, no, wait-then-no. In descending order of fun.
I once found it tempting to think that at least “wait” didn’t mean “no”. But I then found that…no, that’s not how it works. Sometimes he has us wait – for years – and then says no.
And that’s rough.
It’s one thing to get a “no” right off the bat. At least you can deal with it then, get past the disappointment. But years of waiting and then a no? It feels almost cruel. Hopes gotten up and then dumped.
We can dodge these unpleasant truths if we want. We can pretend that “God is too good to waste our faith”, as some preachers will insist – that long-nurtured prayers are guaranteed the answer we want. We can pretend there are no ill thoughts towards God lurking in our hearts.
But we probably wouldn’t be honest.
I’m committed to the idea that God cares about our heart’s desires. When we read stories like the twelve-year wait of the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9), or the one crippled by evil for eighteen, or the man invalid for thirty-eight (that’s longer than I’ve been alive, people), you remember that God’s miraculous gifts can still come for you, even now.
But even if the answer will be eventually revealed as a no, we have a choice of how we live until then.
God’s advice to me has been, go through the “no” once.
If “no” the answer is, we have two choices: 1) live in worry and fear of the “no” and then experience it; 2) live in hope and confidence and then experience it.
The latter option seems mountains better for my long-term emotional sanity. If God must deny my requests, I’d much rather have that shattering come at the tail end of years of peace and joy. As Jesus says, worry doesn’t do squat to change the outcome, though we have a strange hang-up with thinking it somehow will.
Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:30)
I once heard a pastor say, “There is power in not worrying.” We’re generally more fruitful and competent when we’re not bound up in overthinking and trying too hard, while pressure kills everything it touches. It might just be that there’s power in listening to Jesus’ advice. What a thought!
Matthew 6:30 isn’t polite advice. It’s a command, a test of whether we believe his words, a calling to live like he did – in total trust of the Father’s character.
Dumping worry is hard. It’s so habitual, so natural. Will we accept God’s strength and grace to live as if we believe his interpretation of reality? I mean, he did create the thing.
Let’s take him seriously.