July 30, 2019
“‘…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6, NIV 1984).
I walked into the room and saw a young woman I had never met sitting next to my patient. “This is my daughter,” he said. I remembered something about his daughter from our previous conversations and greeted her. “67 days,” he said, softly at first so that I did not understand. Within my silence he spoke more clearly, “67 days.” Our past conversations came back clearly. On our last visit, his greatest anguish was not for his illness, but for his daughter addicted to drugs. She was now 67 days free from them. “I certainly prayed for you,” I told her. “It’s all because of Jesus,” her father said.
This is what Jesus is up to in our world: transforming lives.
He takes broken people and makes them whole.
He takes lost rebels and makes them children of the King.
He takes the sin-possessed and makes them free.
He takes me and makes my life worth living.
He takes those for whom we are desperately praying and changes them, in His way.
So many times, we ask God to fix things for those we love, in our way.
We so much focus on ways we have figured out to change the people we love. We then pray for God to perform according to our wise plan to make the events line up that we have envisioned.
But God’s ways are so much more wise and powerful than ours.
St. Augustine describes the difference in God’s wisdom and ours in his autobiography Confessions. When Augustine was young, brilliant, lustful and proud, he decided to move to Rome to find happiness in earthly ways. His mother prayed in anguish that God would stop him from leaving, fearing he would be lost to God forever should he go.
“But you, God, knew why I was traveling from one place to the other, and you did not reveal the reason to either me or my mother, who was most bitterly distressed at my going away and followed me right down to the seacoast. She clung to me with all her force, begging me to either return or to take her with me…But your counsels are deep; you granted what was the key point of her prayer and did not do what she was asking for at that moment, so that you might make me what she always wanted me to be.” It was in Rome that Augustine surrendered his life to God.
Rather than begging God to do things our way, I believe the best way to pray is to point our hearts directly at the need: “Dear God, please change them. Choose your way and let me know how to join in.” Or, “God, please change me, whatever it takes. Show me what to do.”
Only Your power can transform in Your way. Let me do my part as You direct.