God is willing to answer our toughest prayers.
It’s a small thing, really, for the Lord to either make use of or overrule the natural laws we are accustomed to operating under, so that a drought is suddenly ended, or a tornado changes its course, or a sickness is ended instantly, or any of many things that are miracles to us.
What is a great thing is for God to be able to work with people who have free will, and change their character, their thinking, their course of life. It is a great thing for God to be able to leave people a real choice in whether to receive or reject His Word, and in an incredible display of love, wisdom, and power, bring a self-satisfied sinner to the point where He saves them from sin, in the midst of all the distractions that other sinners provide. The greatness of this work is demonstrated by how few actually go through it to the point of getting saved. The Lord leaves men so many places where they can choose to turn aside from God’s dealing with them.
Praise God, men and women do get saved! It’s happening all the time!
But then there remains another great thing, for these for whom a new life has been implanted in their hearts, a clean slate given, and power to live pleasing to God available. This other great thing is the work of bringing a saved human being, with a corrupt nature still within (a nature that seems entirely natural to them), to the point of putting it to death and being sanctified into a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Well, praise God, men and women do get their hearts purified! It’s happening all the time!
But then there remains still another great thing. God has made a highway in a person’s life for this type of work to be done when they are saved and sanctified, but it is a marvelous work, nonetheless. That work I am speaking of is to continue to work only with the co-operation of the person, to do the work of “present[ing] every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28)
If I look on at the work going on, either in myself or in others, I stagger at the needs, the difficulties of prioritizing them, the weaknesses, prejudices, and flaws in the person (most particularly myself) upon whom the work needs to be done. I consider how slowly I can knowingly, voluntarily yield or change in fundamental ways without collapsing under the strain, and the hindrances the devil so cunningly throws in the way, and I am bowed in gratitude that my Lord is willing and able to take on the challenge.
So here is a tough prayer: “Lord, please take me—who hates conflict, who thrives naturally on diplomacy, who possesses a moderate spirit—and make me into a vessel that You can use to do your work, which must go so much against the grain of natural human relationships.”
God is in the process of answering that prayer. It has been taking years of God’s strong patience and my feeble co-operation, of His lovingly appointed trials and crises and my feebly holding His hand and saying “Yes, thank You” again and again. It’s a long way from complete, but I want to thank the Lord for His willingness to answer our toughest prayers.
Do you have any tough prayers for God to answer? Keep praying for me.
Love and prayers,