While we were in Ottawa in July we had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my brother-in-law Dave and his lovely wife Julia. It was great. I really enjoyed catching up and getting to know them both better. Anyway, while we were visiting one day my sister-in-law was telling me about something she has been doing lately in her journey with God (which I won't go into details about) and it has been something I have been thinking about ever since.
Basically the idea was that we need to have faith and believe that God wants to give us good gifts... which is what it says in the Bible. I know this but somehow have a hard time believing it sometimes. Now I am not talking about a health and wealth gospel here which says that God wants us all to be rich and have no pain in life and if we don't have that perfect life it is because we have sin in our life. I do NOT believe that. I believe strongly that life is full of suffering, Jesus suffered on earth and so do we and through that suffering we are supposed to become more like Christ.
Anyway, the point is that I have been thinking about how I could put my small amount of faith into action and start truly believing God to fulfill his promises in my life. Julia really challenged me about it (unintentionally I'm sure). SO now how to go about it? I am toying with the idea of starting a sort of prayer journal... except with something visual to go along with it. I sort of see in pictures sometimes so it would help me to actually visualize what I am asking for. Of course since the things I'd be asking for are not all material it might be hard to find pictures... hmm.
The thing is it still feels sort of presumptuous of me to ask God for things and expect Him to give them to me. Like he is a genie or Santa Claus or something. And therein lies my struggle. What is the balance between believing that God actually loves us and wants to give good gifts to His children and believing that God wants us to have the so-called american dream and is there to fulfill our selfish desires?
And then of course there is the whole aspect of my brain that wonders if prayer actually helps anything. I tend to struggle between the idea of predestination (if God wants it to happen it will happen no matter what we do) and the idea that we can alter God's plans by our prayers. I know that there are examples of both in Scripture.
And to be perfectly honest there is a part of me, a very pessimistic part of me that sort of believes God is sort of out to get me... I mean in the sense that He is so busy trying to teach me things and make me into a better person that He is likely to actually NOT give me the things I want so I learn... patience, endurance, joy in suffering, compassion and all the rest.
So what to do.
The point is that if I really believe that God answers prayer and that God cares about us personally and wants to bless us... then I should actually put that belief into practice.
And thanks Julia for making me think.