I saw a friend ask this question on my Facebook feed recently.
We all desire. Victory, deliverance, breakthrough, blessing, healing, hearts’ desires. It’s a tricky high-wire, for no matter what some say, the Christian life is not all about these things. George Herbert wrote,
To be in both worlds full
Is more than God was, who was hungry here.
Is a servant is greater than his master? The Bible doesn’t stutter: not every prayer will be granted in this life. And that is both curse and privilege. We simply must start there. If you can’t accept that word, your life will be a shattering staccato of foiled expectations.
I’ve also learned not to put limits on God’s generosity. He is scandalously generous. Sometimes the church, in frustration with the masses grasping for “prosperity” and deaf to all else, races to the other extreme and throws cold water on blessing of any kind. You’ve probably absorbed this yourself. Just observe your reaction if I write the phrase “bold prayer”. You instantly pull up and worry: Is this right? Respectful? Scriptural? It’s understandable hesitation.
But God does answer prayer. The Bible speaks of many such times, holds them out rather excitedly. God reveals himself through “yes” as well as “no”.
So…where is this generosity? Our experiences don’t match up to that awesome power – yet. “This is reality,” we want to say. “God doesn’t do that stuff anymore.”
I certainly want to believe. What is reality if God is your God?
But regardless of how many stories we hear about provisions and breakthroughs, something in our hearts has a hard time with faith. Some of us are fed up with hope; others are just down-to-earth by nature. We feel stuck between reality and faith, between hope and surrender. “If I’m going to undertake a long season of prayer,” we say, “then I want to know I’m grounded in reality.”
You could have been friends with Abraham.