Have you ever used the words please God when you were crying out to God for an answer?
As a child, when we wanted to get something from our parents, I remember asking “please,” then came, “pretty please.” As I got older I realized that within the word please is the word plea literally.
Is it okay with God if we plead for answers? I asked this very question and decided to look up some scriptures to get my answer. Here’s what I found:
The Apostle Paul struggled with an unanswered prayer that the Bible calls it a “thorn in his flesh.” Theologians have debated with this fact for years wondering if Paul lost his vision when he was blinded by God and knocked him off his horse on the road to Damascus. The precise nature of this severe affliction and suffering remains unknown. Some have suggested strongly it was his eyesight. The Bible doesn’t identify what the thorn was. It was, however, tormenting.
“Paul, who had received great revelations from God, had received visions of God–was caught up in the third heaven, not knowing if he was in the body or out of the body.” (2 Corinthians 12: 2)
He had been with God while in prayer and shown some things in heaven, but he had a messenger of satan to torment him. I am learning that the closer you get to God and the more you learn, and the deeper you go, the more you suffer. There is a cost one pays when serving God completely. Suffering, I guess, is inevitable. It was clear that Paul was in anguish. This is how he described this anguish and his torment:
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12: 7-9)
There were times that the men of great faith pleaded with God. Even Jesus had a moment of pleading. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane and was in great distress, He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He then said, “My Father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26: 38-39)
This cup of suffering was overwhelming Jesus, which led Him to ask the Father to remove it. This was a form of pleading with the Father. He then concluded, yielding and saying “Not as I will, but as you will.” As He expressed His suffering and pain, He released it by accepting the will of the Father and by releasing His will to him.
When we are going through something and find ourselves pleading with God for it to be removed, would it be wise to say the same as Jesus, “Not my will, but yours be done.” I would think so! He is our example, in word and deed.
Think of King David when he cried out in prayer. He said, “Teach me to do your will, for you are My God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143: 10)
Psalm 119:12 says it this way: “Teach me your decrees.”
Could the Psalmist be saying, “Teach me your decrees so I can do your will.”
- Do we know what God has decreed?
- Do we know what God has promised?
- Do we believe these promises?
- Should we decree them instead of pleading for them?
- Is there a difference?
The Word of God is full of written promises to us. When we read these promises, we should learn to let the Holy Spirit highlight what He wants to highlight. As we meditate on these promises they become encouragement and hope. Encouragement and hope given to us will sustain us, as we believe. The more we seek that encouragement, the more I find myself just pouring my heart out to the Lord, making my plea.
Listen to Jeremiah’s plea, “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: Do not close your ears to my cry for relief. You came near when I called you, you said, ‘Do not fear.” Lamentations 3: 55-57
When we plead with God for answers, He hears. He not only hears, but He also comes near. When He comes near, He says “Do not fear.” How great is that!
When God comes near, there is no fear. There is complete overwhelming peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Only His presence can achieve that. When we know that our cry for relief is being heard, suddenly whatever we are asking for becomes not a priority anymore. Receiving the answer doesn’t seem to matter much, anymore either.
Sometimes His will is for us to wait. His answer could be no. His will could just be that He is:
“Working all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8: 28)
This scripture we often quote! Do we really understand it? The NIV version of the Bible actually says, “Know that IN ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him.”
There are many that God is working for the good of those. It’s not about just our need, our answer. He is working out answers for others that may be involved in our situations as well. He has to work out stuff in there lives as well.
Let’s conclude by asking God “Teach me to do your will. For you are My God. May your Spirit–good Spirit–(which is always working things out for our good and the good of others), lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143: 10
Have you ever looked at someone standing on level ground? They look sure-footed and confident. When we do God’s will, we are lead to level ground. We become level-headed as well! For when we are standing on level ground, our feet are free from the danger of falling, falling away. Only then can we say as Jesus said, “Not my will but yours be done.”
Even in our times of pleading with God, we are learning to wait. Waiting disciplines us. It teaches us to trust and endure. All along it is producing in us something that we cannot achieve any other way. That something is the character of Jesus.
“Endure hardship as discipline…It PRODUCES a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12: 7, 11 When we are trained by discipline, it produces peace and righteousness in abundance.
Isn’t this the goal of Jesus? To PRODUCE IN US His love, His character and His peace, which is Himself, our Prince of Peace. We can’t obtain His character any other way. Let hardship, suffering, and discipline be the springboard that produces in us all He wants us to be. If His suffering set many free, so can ours, if we let it. There is always a greater purpose, a greater number to touch and reach, and a bigger picture than what we can see. Our suffering and pleading IS producing, is reaching, is releasing. Keep crying out, He is hearing.
UNBROKEN LOVE SERIES
You can find all of the Unbroken Love series posts by clicking the button below.