if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 2 Chronicles 7:14-16
Hubs and I had the blessing of being able to attend the Midwest Pastors’ Conference for the past 4 days. It was an incredible blessing for our family to get away together in a retreat setting. Beautiful leaves, lovely lake, sweet cabin near the woods, fellowship in the Lord and with the body of Christ…too many blessings to count! Like all vacations and getaways, at the close of our time, everyone was a little tired, a little smelly, and a little irritable. The Boy was the grumpiest of us all, so he and I skipped one of the morning sessions to pack the van. We had every bag loaded, every pillow and towel stowed away, every leaf swept from the cabin and were preparing to move the van back to the parking lot when I realized I wasn’t sure where the van key was. I checked all my pockets, my bag, the floor of the van, all through the empty cabin…no key. Feeling a little panicky, I got down on my hands and knees and looked under each bed, under the couch…even under the fridge! No key. Now, I was really frustrated and irritated. So, I prayed…something like this: God, You have to help me find this key! I’ve looked and looked and can’t find it. Please show me where it is. You see it and I don’t and I’m the one who has to drive this van. So show me where the key is!!
Eventually, I unpacked every bag in the van, searched every inch of both the van and cabin, re-packed all our stuff and even got down on my hands and knees and started searching under all the leaves scattering the lawn and road in front of our cabin. I was crying and angry, all the while praying, “God, You have to show me where this key is!!”
Charlie came back to the cabin just as I was sitting down in the cabin to have an old-fashioned temper tantrum. I was sure I had lost the key out in the leaves somewhere and we wouldn’t be able to get back home that afternoon. I was frustrated with myself and couldn’t understand why God hadn’t heard my prayers. I sobbed out the whole story to Hubs and he, being so patient and kind, suggested we pray about it. I snapped back, “I HAVE been praying for the last hour.” Nonetheless, I bowed my head as he asked God to help us find the lost key. His prayer went something like this: Lord, You know we’ve lost the key and Jen has been searching for it. Please help us to find it. We thank You for always taking care of us and we trust that You will take care of us now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
He then proceeded to walk out to the van, look into my bag–the same bag I had already searched multiple times–and find the lost key. He called out triumphantly, “I found it! Praise the Lord!” When he told me where he had found it, I was bewildered…I had checked that bag over and over again. And I had prayed and prayed and prayed…with no answer. But Hubs showed up, said one prayer and God showed him the lost key.
Now here’s a true confession: I was pretty miffed with God in that moment. And I told Hubs about it. “I asked and asked God to show me that key and He didn’t. But you asked him once and He showed it to you right away. Why?!?!” Hubs just grinned and hugged me. I eventually got over my irritation, but I kept mulling over the incident in my mind.
It wasn’t until this morning that I began to see that perhaps my approach to the entire problem was faulty. I did go to God for help…but my attitude was prideful, demanding, arrogant. Instead of being grateful and acknowledging God as, well…GOD, I demanded that He give me the key. I was even so bold as to tell Him that I had an agenda and losing the key was not on it. I was using God like a genie in a bottle, asking Him to give me what I wanted and GIVE IT RIGHT NOW.
God is a patient Father…
Hubs’ prayer was different. He thanked God for helping us, remembering that God is the source of all our help. He was humble.
And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12
I had exalted my needs, myself… demanding that God give me what I wanted, in the time line that I wanted…like a two-year old. Hubs had approached God humbly, giving God respect and reverence, in gratitude. And God answered his prayer…because God loves humility. Why? Because a humble man or woman is not concerned for himself or herself. A humble person is in awe of who God is and is willing to let the Creator of the universe, the Author and Finisher of our faith have His way.
So this morning, at the revelation of my own pride and the destructive properties it has…I found myself on my knees. This time begging God for forgiveness and for a change of heart. I know from the Word that without a humble and contrite spirit, spiritual fruit in my life is unlikely. Not only that, but pride goes before a fall…and a stumble, and bruised knees, and all sorts of other injurious actions. I want God to change my heart and teach me to be continually humble and unconcerned with myself….trusting God to take care of my every need. I’d rather my knees be bruised from a posture of humble prayer, than bruised from prideful wipeouts.
Who knew that a lost key could truly bring me to me knees? Who knew I would be grateful?
Oh, yeah…that patient, loving Father-God of ours!
Father-God, thank You. Thank You for lovingly, patiently teaching me and instructing me. Thank You for teaching me that I can trust You…always. Forgive me of my pride. Forgive me for having any other posture other than being bowed low in humble adoration, respect and gratitude. You are awesome. You are power. You are wisdom. You are my God! Continue to love me, to teach me how to be truly humble, truly unconcerned with my own needs and desires. Help me not to be afraid of this request, but to embrace You and all that You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.