July 19: Patience and Hope
The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him – Habakkuk 2:20
When we cannot see evidence of God at work, or are puzzled by the unfolding of His providences, there is a tendency to draw the wrong conclusions. When evil was rampant in the land of Israel, Habakkuk assumed that God was doing nothing. He asked, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!”…
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer...let your requests be made known unto God – Philippians 4:6
Prayer is the means God has given us for unburdening our souls. This is important to consciously, biblically affirm. Otherwise, we may feel weighed down with anxiety, with guilt, with discouragement, or with sorrow and yet have no solution for these soul burdens.
Does that perhaps describe you? As a Christian, you have a vague awareness in the back of your mind that we should not be constantly walking around with 1000-pound weights on our souls, but honestly you have forgotten lately what the biblical answer to this problem is.
Paul tells us give our burdens to God in prayer. Now let’s do a quick self-diagnostic here. When we hear Paul’s instruction, does it just sound to us like escapism or positive thinking? If so, then we have accepted our secular culture's idea of prayer. It is blind faith in faith itself.
The secular idea of prayer is basically just throwing all your garbage up in the air and hoping it does not fall right back down on your head again; because, in the end, there is no one up there to catch it, and hold it, and help you with it! But this is a far cry from the biblical view of prayer, which is taking real problems to a real God, who really does have more strength than us and more wisdom than us. And this God really does care about our difficulties.
Prayer is the way we take our cares to God, the means God himself has given us for unburdening our souls. This is not just escapism or ill-founded optimism. No, this is resting in the concrete assurance of your Creator God that he will save, will deliver, will hear and answer those who come to him in prayer.
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