Jesus tells his followers another story about persistent prayer in Luke 18. I love Luke’s summary – that Jesus told a parable…
…to the effect that they ought always to pray and never lose heart. Luke 18:1
I blogged two weeks ago about prayer pointers, including the fact that God tells us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking.
And I just realized that yesterday’s blog reveals how God answered my persistent prayer!
I’ve been plagued for at least a month with on obsession of sorts, related to my desperate desire to alleviate my current and future loneliness (among other needs).
I begged God on a daily basis to either 1) give me my heart’s desire or 2) take away what felt like an idolatrous longing and help me to stop focusing so frequently on this desire.
I begged God for relief from my thoughts.
He didn’t answer right away; I struggled for weeks.
But God did answer!! He answered my persistent prayer yesterday by showing me that my longings were tinged with – perhaps driven by – idolatry. I wanted to relieve my loneliness my way instead of letting God fill me.
And yesterday, by God’s grace and kindness, I saw so clearly what was going on in my heart. I turned things over to Him. Yesterday’s blog shows the pain in my heart, but also my desire and prayer for God to turn my longings toward Him. That’s my new persistent prayer, for God to meet me in my lonely places, for Him to give me new contentment.
And this morning when I woke up, for the first time in over a month, I didn’t start obsessing like I had. Now that’s resurrection power! (today is Easter!)
God answered my persistent prayer!! Next time, I’ll keep going. I won’t lose heart!
I’m sure I’m not done with this area of wrestling, but I know if I keep praying for change that’s in God’s will, He will eventually answer. Persistence!
I subsequently became aware (in a text with a girlfriend this morning) that this desire to fill my loneliness with another person (ok, to be specific, with a husband!) was a form of desperation.
I was desperate to have a husband fill my loneliness hole and meet a few other needs (like mow the grass today!). But if I am desperate for someone, it’s because I want to use that person to make my life work. Nobody wants to be used. It squeezes the life out of that person. That’s not a relationship.
God showed me my idolatrous desperation yesterday.
What I DO need to be desperate for is God, like the Psalmist in 84: 2 says, “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord.”
God is the only one who can truly fill me and all of my longings; my desperation is ultimately for Him – and I won’t be completely relieved until I see Him face to face. So, when I feel desperate for someone to fill that hole – but rightly turn to God to do so – I may still feel longing.
BUT, the resurrection proves that I won’t have to feel loneliness forever. One day, I’ll stand before God, completely satisfied, as I worship Him day and night. He will relieve ALL my loneliness just as Jesus’ loneliness was replaced by fellowship with His Father forever (Jesus endured the Cross for the joy set before Him – which was being seated at the right hand of God! Hebrews 12: 2).
What a great thing to look forward to. In fact, often when I think of my husband who is now in heaven, I am so grateful that he is so happy. No longer living in a wrecked body, he stands before Jesus totally satisfied, never lonely, and always worshipping. What a gift to know how fulfilled he is! Again, resurrection power!
Dear Lord: I was just awestruck when I realized that You answered my persistent prayer yesterday, in fact, starting last week when I had my pity party with you. You are so gracious. You are so good to me. Thank you for telling me not to lose heart and then showing me what happens when I don’t give up asking. I’ve got a few more things to ask about, too! LOL (is it OK to do that with You, God?!). Amen.