I’m going to tell on myself a little today…
Be Careful What You Ask For (Unless What You Ask For Is Really What You Need)
Yesterday I prayed for God to make me humble. I had no idea how quickly He would answer that prayer! In two very specific ways, He both exposed my prideful wrongs and softened my heart to ask for and embrace the grace to change. I love this about God. With man, correction hurts. With God, it brings sweet relief and humility that empowers.
The first bit of humility came through the Word of God. The message I heard yesterday in church was about the power of the church’s prayers, with specific reference to the kind of peace such prayers bring. The Apostle Peter was thrown in prison, and the church offered up constant prayer for him (Acts 12). The amazing thing was that, although Peter was heavily guarded by cruel Roman soldiers (they were even attached to his side), he was able to sleep. The peace of God so filled him because the church was praying.
You and I are the church. Our prayers are powerful. But sometimes we forget that.
I’ve been praying a lot lately, for someone I love. And I’ve noticed that this person is having no trouble falling asleep! So much so, that sleep often comes at seemingly inopportune times. And I tend to get frustrated. But yesterday, as I heard the message about God’s peace surrounding the ones we are praying for, my heart was deeply convicted and I was greatly humbled before God. I heard the Spirit whisper, “Have you not been praying?” I have prayed because I want to see a great effort put forth. I want to see strength arise. I want to see what I want to see. But God wants this person to know His peace. And God wants the glory in the things I am praying for.
I had to surrender to such loving wisdom.
Judge Not, Lest You Also Be Judged
The second answer to my prayer for humility came by way of a well deserved judgment! My husband had some minor, but sudden and discomforting health issues last week which required medical attention. Rather than feel compassion for him, I judged him. I thought he was overreacting a bit and I had little patience for his neediness. Of course, I did not say or show this outwardly, but it was in my heart. Maybe because I am a busy mom or maybe because this is just a rough season, I struggled with having to expend more effort and energy taking care of him.
It was wrong, but this is an honest assessment of where I was.
Yesterday, after praying for humility, I went home and began to suffer with extreme pain that would not relent for the rest of the day. After much suffering, my husband convinced me to seek medical attention, and off the E.R. we went. After a battery of tests, and more severe pain, the verdict came in: I had the same condition my husband was diagnosed with last week! The incredible thing is that this is not a virus, nor is it contagious!
Scripture warns us not to judge others, lest we receive the same judgment in return. (Matthew 7:1-3). This is often misquoted and misused, but that is a subject for another post. Suffice it to say, I received exactly what I dished out!
Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment…Unless We Are Too Stubborn to Embrace It
I heard someone explain it this way once: Whatever we judge, we will experience more of. Because whatever is judged is not under the law of God, which is mercy (for those who are in Christ, mercy triumphs over judgment). Rather, judgment is under the law of Satan, who demands punishment. So, that which is judged reaps judgment. But that which is shown mercy, is granted grace.
In other words, there’s a very good possibility that if I had been kind and compassionate toward my husband in his suffering, I wouldn’t be laid up today with the same condition!
Holy Laughter and The Joy of Forgiveness
I can laugh about it now because I have asked for forgiveness and received God’s amazing grace. I (hopefully) learned my lesson! And I share it with you today because I want you to have a good, clean laugh. And because I want you to share in the grace of humility with me.
So may you giggle a little today, at my expense! And may you be brave enough to ask God for humility in your own life, and receive it with joy when it comes – however it may come. He is faithful to give us just what we need.
But don’t worry, after we have suffered a while, if need be, the God of all grace will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10). This is a joyful promised indeed!