Thursday, February 28, 2013

Answered Prayer Packaged in Inconvenience

By Brenda Black

When you pray for drought relief, there's no excuse to complain about mud. The catch 22 of moisture soaking the soil is the accumulation of mush on top. Far and wide across the nation, massive snowfall brought life-giving water in an inconvenient, all be it, beautiful form, turning every day routines into harrowing feats. But, if you think driving to work in a foot of slippery fluff is difficult with solid pavement under the tread, try plowing to work on the farm, through drifts and ruts, over slick, tender grass blades. All I can say is Yee Haw! Hold on tight and give it the gas!

I 'm glad my husband is the one at the wheel while I ride shotgun through such a challenging course. I would rather be the gate girl than the wife who slid the pickup into the fence. I don't know how he navigates through slimy, narrow passages or keeps it in the center of oozing slush, flanked by walls of white drifts just waiting to suck our rig into stuck. I do understand the absolute necessity of keeping my window rolled up! Some things you learn the hard way and a freezing cold mud bath slung in the face is one class I never intend to take.

Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you I am a “do it myself” kind of gal. I take on everything with an “I can” attitude. Sometimes, not to my credit, but to my shame, I think I can do it in my own strength. That's about as smart as me taking the wheel through a dangerous snow drift or riding shotgun to feed hay in winter with the window rolled down! I need to know my limits. I need to accept my powerlessness at times. I need to employ some God-given common sense and I need to turn to God.

If I ask Him to help me, then deny the answer He gives me or the help He brings, I'm going to curse the showers of blessings instead of accept them in their various forms. In rain and snow and sleet and mud, the Lord is good. His perfect wisdom is our solid foundation when the bottom of the road seems to disappear into oblivion. His perfect love protects us from the cold, nasty challenges that life slings into our face. His perfect grace does not demand that we do more than we were ever designed or called to accomplish. The Lord is faithful and knows what is best. Though we wonder at His tactics, we must never begrudge His mysterious answers to prayer.

We pray for the Lord to refresh our land with moisture and He sends a blizzard. That inconvenient snow that some may curse, delivers unseen benefits for which we didn't ask, but we get. Much needed moisture will penetrate deep into the ground as it slowly melts. We receive nitrogen for the soil and a hard freeze to annihilate an overabundance of disease bearing pests. There's run-off filling creeks and ponds and streams that have groaned for a drink. God sees the big picture.
So often, we think we do not get the answers we seek when we pray. In those moments, I must remember that I'm not the Creator in charge of the weather or of life. I need to trust the One who bids the snow to get me through the tough things that want to suck the life out of me or slam me headfirst into a frigid embankment.

Before we can get to the pasture, we first have to get out of the drive!
As the Lord spoke to Job long ago, He speaks with the same authority today: “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail...What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?” (Job 38:22-27)

I think we know the answer to all of these questions. If God is great enough to command all of earth, isn't He the One that should be 4-wheeling His way through my life. The One at the wheel has far more experience and has every intention of protecting me. I need to employ the common sense the Lord gave me: Just buckle up, keep the window up, and look up for His safety.

Answers to prayer comes packaged in strange and inconvenient containers. But, with eyes wide open , a receptive heart and a good grip on the dash, we might just be able to see the big picture when we trust the Lord to transport us through life's scary drifts.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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