Be close to me, Lord. Help me to see You.
These words have been on my mind lately. I hold them close to my chest, clinging to them as if they were a prized possession. I repeat them in the middle of the night as I pray for the needs of the people in my care. I recite them over and over again, reminding myself that God is at work. I believe He is, just not always in the way we think.
To say “God is working” often implies that we don’t have any responsibility to take action. I know this isn’t always the case, but many people believe that God will magically work out all the details of their lives without using the brain that He gave them.
It’s a cop out. There, I said it. But before you throw your stones, let me give you the example that prompted this week’s TGW.
Many of you have followed the progress of our youngest, Emmett. He was born with some challenges regarding his bones. His feet, left leg, knee & hips have congenital abnormalities; deformities present at birth. He’s already had a few surgeries to correct his feet and now we face some more challenges. The doctor we’ve seen for almost two years, the doctor that has been baffled by his remarkable progress, is now recommending us to 3 other doctors, essentially suggesting these other surgical consultations because he’s at a loss of what to do next. While we appreciate his honesty, we were a little stunned by the news. We thought we were on a certain path but now we’re being rerouted.
I’ve prayed the same prayer for each of my 5 kids. Protect them, give them peace, provide and be present with them. I’ve asked God to heal my boy. But lately our prayer seems to be a different one. We are praying for wisdom in a new way. What do we do?
I asked God to shine a light on the right doctor. Strange, I know, but that was my prayer. Here’s the problem, I see a “light” on all of these physicians. They’ve all been attentive and caring. They’ve all been great. So what’s the issue? Well, while I’m waiting on God to magically drop a pin on a location, city and doctor, Emmett gets further down the road and his needs and issues increase. Here’s the point….
God isn’t writing anything in the sky. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t care, isn’t big enough or can’t orchestrate a message in the clouds; it just means that His answer is much simpler. It’s right in front of me. The answer stares at me each morning when I brush my teeth. The answer to my prayers is this…me. God trusts me. He created me and He gave Emmett to us. On purpose. He trusts that Keri and I will make the best decisions for his care. That weight is immense…I can’t even describe it. Let me be very clear, this is an arduous and difficult road. We have no idea what the outcome will be. We have no idea what the future holds – but isn’t that the point? We trust God. And if He trusts me, then my job is to lean on Him, even when He is silent.
Trust that God has placed His spirit in you. Trust that He is working…because of you. You are His miracle. You are His method for salvaging creation. And when the task seems too great, remember that you’re not alone.
As you pray for us, we pray for you.
“God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13 NLT)
Matt Hastings lives with his wife Keri and their five children in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He is the pastor of the Estill Springs Church of the Nazarene. [Editor’s Note: Matt has graciously allowed us to republish his weekly email devotionals on our site for our readers.]