“Your post is awaiting moderation” is something we bloggers see a lot.
Basically, when we comment on someone else’s blog and they have a particular setting turned on, our comments have to wait for their approval before they’re displayed. I personally do not have this setting enabled (haven’t needed it yet – don’t make me change my mind), but there’s no doubt it’s a handy little tool for the internet which, as you can imagine, is hardly lacking for spam and ill will.
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. 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 much of the time, God requires us to wait for the answer.
I once found it tempting to think that at least “wait” didn’t mean “no” yet. But I then found that waiting and then getting a no was even worse.
I’m committed to the idea that God cares about our heart’s desires. A responsible pastor won’t necessarily preach that too much on Sunday morning when he doesn’t know the spiritual maturity of everyone who’s walked through the door; this is stuff better left to one-on-one discipleship. But God does care. 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 is a no, we have a choice over how we live up until the “no”.
In particular, God’s advice to me (this is emotional sanity 101, by the way) is to go through the “no” once.
If “no” the answer is, we have two choices by my reckoning: 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. If God must deny my requests, I’d much rather have that shattering come at the tail end of months, years, decades 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.” It might have something to do with how we’re generally more fruitful and competent when we’re not bound up in overthinking and trying too hard, and how pressure kills everything it touches. But it might just be that there’s power in listening to Jesus’ advice, hey?
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.
The wheels are turning. Our prayers are not falling on deaf ears.