Praying according to the will of God is, to be sure, difficult in some ways and easy in others. We can apply other tools that Pastor Chad gave us in week 3
of the series. He taught us how to pray the Bible back to God. We know that when we pray Scripture, we are praying according to the will of God. However, how God applies that scripture – His will – to a particular situation, including our own, it’s hard for us to see.
A child asks his mother, “Mom, may I have something to eat? I’m hungry!“ A mother will, usually, respond positively to that request. It’s her will that her child not be hungry. However, the child may want and expect a fruit rollup. The mom, though, knows that supper will be ready in one hour. She doesn’t want to spoil the child supper. So, she cuts up an apple and gives it to the child. The child “prayed” for something that was in line with the will of the mother. The mother responded positively to the request. But the child still did not get what was expected.
I think things like this happen for us a lot. We should go to God and ask for what we want and need that we understand to be within His will. Then, we trust God‘s response is that He will give us what he knows is best for us.
I personally also feel the tension in another question. How is it possible for us to see ourselves as despicable sinners and as beloved children?
A little boy acted out selfishly in the home. He was playing with his sister. He wanted his sister’s toy, so he grabbed it. She began to cry. She reached out to take her toy back. He pushed her to the floor. The mother saw this happening. She tried to intervene. The little boy became further entrenched in his selfishness. In defiance to his mother, he not only did not give the toy back to his sister, he threw it on the floor and broke it. The mother disciplined him. Part of the discipline was giving him a lengthy time out in his room. Later, she came to the room to comfort him. She told him that no matter what he did or didn’t do her love for him would be the same. She loved him in spite of his selfishness and defiance. She loved him too much to let him continue to act selfishly. She believed better things for him and from him. She embraced him. She kissed him.
Now, that little story I think gets at the issue. It would have done the boy no favor for him to pretend that he wasn’t selfish and defiant. He needed to admit what was true about him. In fact, admitting his defiance and selfishness is something that makes his mother’s love even more amazing. Hopefully, her unconditional love will cause him to be a better big brother in the future.
Many things in the Christian life are paradoxes. We are both selfish sinners and beloved children. At the same time. For me, recognizing that makes me see and seize the mercy and grace of God even more. As the old song says, “Amazing grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.“ we should embrace the fact of our sinfulness as well as embrace the fact of our beloved-ness.