One morning last week, I woke up with a need to pray. As I began, I sensed God ask, “Renee, what do you want?” I spent an hour before Him in silence, unable to articulate even one desire.
There are many requests within me.
That morning, I had been mooning about a definitive answer in an email that had not yet come. I wanted the email to say “yes,” even though I feared its “no.”
I walked to work in a fury, frustrated that I had before me an audience of God, and I had said nothing. Nothing.
Later on that day, when Greg and the girls met me for lunch, frustration morphed into fear. As we neared toward our house, I stopped walking under the bare flowering trees and lifted up my arms in prayer: “Lord, this is what I want:…” and I named those things hidden deep within me.
Greg smiled with the requests he shared; he stared hard at me in admiration as I spoke into the thick, bright air those hopes I hadn’t even told him.
I finished praying, lowered my arms, and ushered our family toward home. Just then my phone buzzed, signaling the arrival of a new email—the email.
It said “yes.”
This email would have arrived regardless of my prayer, but the spiritual upheaval within me leading up to the prayer deepened my perspective of God's character. There, as I stood still on the tree lined sidewalk, I was reminded that God wants us to ask Him. He appreciates praise, of course, and He welcomes thanks. Groveling, however, is never an option.
In the Bible many people made—and received fulfillment of—their requests, whether to God or to another person: Daughters asked fathers for additional blessings, queens beseeched kings for justice, prophets asked mentors for double portions, blind men groped in the dark for sight, a Messiah prayed for unity.
Their appeals were never spoken out of shame, out of the petitioner’s sense of failure. The requests were made in confidence, in recognition that the God of all hope delights in His creation. The God of all hope wants to bless His children. The God of all hope does not establish a dream in order to crush it.
Even when a dream seems lost, strangled beneath untilled earth, the God of all hope places hope within us to be fulfilled.
God asks me for my requests, and when I overcome my fear of not receiving what I desire and finally ask, He answers. He doesn’t often move quickly, or respond how I had anticipated, but He resurrects hope within me that had been deferred.
And the trust that I was so reluctant to place into His care suddenly becomes less burdensome to me because, after standing transparent before my God, my husband, my daughters, I realize that all this time the Lord has been waiting, and He is patient.
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