…ye have not, because ye ask not. James 4:2 (KJV)
Someone has owed me money for a while, and I have been in a quandary about what I should do. This person is a sweet friend, and I didn’t want to offend or to damage our relationship. I prayed that God would remind him of his debt so that I wouldn’t have to. I imagined various creative ways I could approach the issue.
Days passed, and God didn’t seem to be interested in jogging the memory of my friend. Finally, I bit the bullet and sent a “gentle reminder” hoping my I-phone wouldn’t explode when the response arrived. How foolish. In milliseconds, the answer was in my hand, and the next morning the payment was at my door. My friend has just forgotten.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage: God will do what we cannot, but he won’t do what we can. I wonder how many times I (and you) have waited for God to intervene in a situation when he wants us to use our common sense and move forward. Most of the concerns that niggle at us are not complicated, but we let them build up until they become mountains. Mountains that we’ve constructed with our own imaginations and assumptions.
While common sense seems not to be too common nowadays, God has given us an intellect that he expects us to use for his glory and our well-being. I’m still in a sense of awe that something I dreaded worked out so smoothly. I didn’t lose a friend. He wasn’t offended, and I am learning that it’s essential that I participate in God’s answers as much as I can.
What about you?
Father, strengthen me when I’m reticent to speak out in a matter just because it concerns my personal business. Remind me that in reaching out, opportunities for honest communication are provided. Thank you for your patience. AMEN.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Psalm 71:16
Have you ever heard people talk about religion as being a private matter? That it’s not something to be discussed openly? In an era where sexual encounters, annual incomes, delicate health issues, and so many other topics are common fodder for public consumption, do you find it curious that people say religion is private?
Or are we confusing private with personal? Repeatedly, throughout the Gospels, people approached Jesus with personal matters. Consider the man who was born blind (John 9:1-12), or the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-16), or the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48), the paralytic man (Mark 2:1-12) or the multitudes who came with numerous personal needs. They certainly weren’t deterred from making their personal needs matters of public notice. They didn’t hide them under a cloak of privacy.
The man whose eyes were opened shared his personal story unashamedly with neighbors, Pharisees, and his family. He shared the experience that had forever altered his life with anyone who asked. Even though it cost his expulsion from the temple, he proclaimed God’s grace. The ten lepers raced off, happy to be cured while one man even returned to say thanks. In many instances, Jesus told those who were healed to tell their personal experiences to the priests. (Perhaps they, too, needed reminders of God’s kindness.) And many other stories are recorded of Jesus’ deep compassion and ministry to each individual who approached him.
Could it be that we don’t recognize God’s intervention in our lives? Or perhaps we haven’t had a personal experience with God? Could it be that we are too concerned about political correctness to share God’s grace with those who might desperately be searching for someone to love and heal them? Could privacy be a manifestation of pride when personal experience might be the very antidote for a hurting soul?
Father, move us out of our self-centered privacy so that we are ready and open to share our personal experience of you whenever you give us occasion. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.