Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grace, gifts, and asking

Heart heavy over seeming unanswered prayer…


And more waiting.

God sent a devotion through Marilyn Meberg in which she quoted the lovely words of FrederickBuechner, “A good sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace and somebody loving you is grace.”

She concluded her article with these verses from Matthew 7:11, “And if you hardhearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?”

I closed the devotion, and the phrase, “…good gifts to those who ask…” lingered in my head as I opened the fifth lesson in With Christ in the School of Prayer.  

The title?

“Ask, and it shall be given you.”

The scripture verse?

The same one I’d just read, Matthew 7:11.

But I thought I had asked.

God’s good gifts do await those who ask. Sometimes, the answer seems delayed, but God is in the process as well, refining our asking. I’ve often had the situation of crying out to God in prayer, and for example, I’m asking “What color is it? I need to know what color.” I receive the answer from God, and he says, “Jell-o.” I know I’ve heard from him, but I have no idea what he means. I think that sometimes he’s answering a question he’s still refining in me. But at some point in the future, I have an a-ha moment and realize how he’s been leading.

Murray writes near the end of the fifth lesson about praying in faith. “Let us not make the feeble experiences of our unbelief the measure of what our faith may expect. Let us seek, not only just in our seasons of prayer, but at all times, to hold fast the joyful assurance; man’s prayer on earth and God’s answer in heaven are meant for each other. “

God longs to give us those gifts of grace to which Buechner refers: things like good sleep, and good dreams, and tears, and the smell of rain, and love. And more besides.

His good gifts.

Simply ask.

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