Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Sandwich

Lately I have found myself questioning a lot of God's work in my family. Why is God doing all these things when I never asked for them? Why does God have me carrying a burden on my shoulders that no one else quite understands? How is it that I am having to analyze life or death when the rest of my friends are contemplating whether to go out to dinner or study a little bit more? At what point did I ask God for this and why does it keep continuing on? 

I have been faced with a lot of tough decisions in the past two months that I would never hope for someone to have to face. Even though the decisions are no longer being made, I am still battling the outcomes. Every night I question what my next steps should be to prepare or what other steps I can take to make the situation dissipate. 

I had a conversation with one of my dearest friends the other night and although it was brief, it was a great reminder that this is all out my hands. When I asked, "What do I do? What can I do?" my friend simply responded with "Pray." What he didn't know was that I had been avoiding prayer the past week or so because I was angry. I am definitely guilty of getting angry at God for not answering my prayers. I can't tell you the number of times that I have wanted to just quit. Sometimes I have, clearly. It feels easier to just not pray than to pray really hard and not get the outcome I want. I needed the reminder from my friend to keep going. That one simple word can mean so much but can also be forgotten in times of sorrow. But God doesn't want that for us. God wants us to pray diligently and listen with ears unclogged to hear every word that he has to speak to us. 

Reflecting on the past weeks and the lessons I have learned, I want to share two important points.

The first is that God knows the outcome of everything. 
The devotional I use had a passage in it the other night from 1 Peter that spoke on denying God, but that was not the point that stood out to me most. The moment that Peter remembers what God had said to him earlier in the day was the point that I realized that God already has my plan, regardless of what I want to believe. 
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.Luke 22:34, 54-62
Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny him, even though Peter disagreed. Yet, at the end of the day, Peter still denied Jesus three times. How bold to know that God can see the outcome of every situation.
When you find yourself wanting to predict the future, know that God already knows the outcome. Take comfort in knowing that you don't need to stress about what is going to happen because God has  already done that for you.

The second is that God may answer our prayers differently than we hoped.

A couple weeks ago I was teaching a cooking class at a local elementary school. To tie in an extra educational aspect, we doubled the recipe to allow the kids practice with multiplication skills. Since the group ranged from 3rd to 5th grade, some kids were not as confident at multiplying fractions as others. They were trying to figure out how to double a half a teaspoon. To put it into perspective, I used a piece of bread as an example. Using my hands, I pretend each one was a half a piece of bread. I asked them, "what do you get if you put a half a piece of bread with another half a piece of bread?" and then I used my hands to demonstrate the halves coming together. The answer I was looking for was a whole piece of bread, but one young boy very excitedly answered, "A SANDWICH!" We all got a great laugh out of it and they did all learn that two halves makes a whole, so doubling a half a teaspoon would make one whole teaspoon. Not to mention, I learned something else that afternoon. Kids are a great reminder that even if it is not your answer, it isn't wrong.

So even though God had not answered my prayers like I want him too, it doesn't mean that his answers are wrong. In fact, his answers are more than right. They are righteous. 

I have to continually remind myself that God has a greater plan that is out of my hands. When I find myself stressing about his plan, I am reminded that it is always right. 
God is always right. 

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