"God will keep putting you in situations that stretch your faith, and as your faith stretches, so do your dreams. If you pass the test, you graduate to bigger and bigger dreams. And it won't get easier; it'll get harder. It won't get less complicated; it'll get more complicated. But complications are evidence of God's blessing."
That doesn't sound right, does it? The first time I read that, it gave me serious pause. Looking at my own payer life, I realized that the vast majority of my prayers had been petitioning God to simplify my life by ending whatever trial I was facing at the time. Now, I want to be perfectly clear that I do NOT in any way think that it is wrong to pray for deliverance from suffering. All we have to do is look at the psalms and we will see that King David (described as being a man after God's own heart) prayed for deliverance all the time. What I do think is that when we zero in on getting out of our present circumstance, we run the risk of missing out on what God has for us in that place. I believe with my whole entire heart that God is always good, and so from that stems the belief that everything He allows to transpire in my life, even (perhaps especially) the hardships and heartbreaks, is part of a greater, beautiful plan. I do not believe for one second that God allows suffering for the sake of suffering. What loving Father would do that?
But when God allows things to happen in our lives and we pray and He answers, our faith grows. And then the next time we are stretched further.
Let me give an example. Obviously, my biggest prayer right now is to bring these little ones home from Ethiopia and be their mother. Will my life be simpler or more complex once that happens? More complex for sure! But this complication (a word with a typically negative connotation) is a beautiful thing. I know that being a parent will keep me on my knees before the Throne like nothing else I have experienced. And that is a GOOD thing. It is part of God's plan and purpose. It keeps me dependent on Him. So when He answers my prayer, and I become a mother, I will need Him MORE, not LESS.
That final portion of this chapter was tough for me. It focuses on living for the miracle.
"Praying hard is hard because you can't just pray like it depends on God; you have to work like it depends on you. You can't just be willing to pray about it; you also have to be willing to do something about it."
This section was tough for me in particular because I am not quite sure what this looks like in my life right now, mostly because everything having to do with our adoption is currently out of our hands. So maybe it is more in my attitude. If you have any wise thoughts on that, please let me know. One thing I am trying to work on is being more bold in my prayers and not shying away from telling people what I am asking of God. For a long time, I would just ask for general prayers with our adoption. And I did this because I was afraid that if I put it all out there and God didn't respond in the way I was asking, then that would somehow make Him look bad.
As if God needs me to make Him look good, right?
So I asked for more specific prayer in a few different ways in my post a few days ago, specifically asking for sixteen referrals this month, which would put us at #31 on August 1. It took me some time to get up the courage to put that very specific, very big number out there for all the world to see. My mind would race with thoughts like, "Well, what if it doesn't happen? That won't look good."
But it is not about what looks good. I can't make God look good. God makes God look good.
And so that was a step for me. Praying and asking for payer like I believe it can happen. And it can.
What does "praying like it depends on God and working like it depends on you" look like in your life? Maybe it is taking the first step toward a goal God has set in your heart, moving forward in some way that demonstrates to God that you believe He can a will work a miracle in your life.