READ: 2 Samuel 7:18, 20-23, 28-29
(18, 20-21) King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, My Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought to me this place in life?…What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. You’ve done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are – out of your very heart! – but you’ve let me in on it.
(22-23) “This is what makes you so great, Master God! There is none like you, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we’ve heard with our own ears. And who is like your people, like Israel, a nation unique in the earth, whom God set out to redeem for himself (and became most famous for it), performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations and their gods left and right as you saved your people from Egypt?…
(28-29) “And now, Master God, being the God you are, speaking sure words as you do, and having just said this wonderful thing to me, please, just one more thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You’ve already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!”
THINK: Read the passage even more slowly and deliberately, considering every word. Listen for the line that resonates with you and read it again after you finish the passage. Pause. Consider any of the following issues, letting God nudge you.
(1) In what ways has God changed you that you can be grateful for?
(2) What has God brought you out of?
(3) How has God been heroic regarding you (“performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations and their gods left and right”?)
(4) What would you like to ask God for regarding the future?
I don’t know if I would immediately use the word “changed” so much as I would use “changing” because I can tell that God is changing me. And not just me, but my husband and kids too. Amazing, isn’t it, how being in the middle of a crisis in which your hands are tied, that you find you have to let God do all the heavy lifting, while you do all the kneeling and praying?! I also find it personally fascinating how I can keep falling back into old habits of wanting to take care of everything myself when I know that God’s plan has to be better for me than mine.
God has brought me out of many things over the course of my life. And though he has delayed in bringing me out of my current uncomfortable situation, I know that my deliverance is coming. I don’t know when it will be, but I do know that it is guaranteed, even if that means the Jesus has returned.
There have been plenty of great and fearsome acts performed on my behalf over the course of this ordeal, I am sure, but I don’t think that I will ever know – this side of Heaven – what they all are. I don’t need to see all that God is doing just to know that He has been working. He is always working. But, when I get to Heaven, I would like to ask God for the chance to see just how this ordeal we’ve been going through has helped others.
There are many things that I would like to ask God for regarding the future, but aside from releasing my husband so that he can come home to his family, I don’t know where to start. So many things hinge on his being home that it’s hard to even know what to ask for.
PRAY: Pray through the above passage, innovating and personalizing your prayer according to the questions in the Think section.
LIVE: Give this a try: Consider the line from the passage that caught your attention and put it into a tune from a song you already know (or make a tune up, if you wish). Sing that line and then sit in the quiet. Sing it again and sit in the quiet. Sing it one more and sit in the quiet.
I don’t know how many of you that read this actually do the activities laid out in this book. But this one would be neat to do. God inhabits the praises of his people, so just imagine how much closer to him you could draw if you were willing to drop your guard, your defenses and worship God the way He deserves.
In order to pray effectively, you have to be willing to drop that guard too. It takes guts to ask God for things most people don’t want, or don’t think or know they want. You are entering into brand new territory when you do that (new territory for you, but not to God). So take a chance. Pray the Prayer of Jabez and ask God to bless you so that you can be a blessing to others. And then, go be a blessing to people who really need it. Then, be willing to hold up your end of the bargain.
On a more personal note: The line in this passage that really stuck out to me was:
“You’ve done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are – out of your very heart! – but you’ve let me in on it.”
When our ordeal started, I was mad about the accusation that was made against my husband. We had taken this person into our home, poured out our hearts and did everything we could to make this individual welcome and safe. Then, we were betrayed. My mother suggested that maybe God was wanting to do a work in this person’s life, and all I could think was:
Did it have to be at our expense?
Her response to that was: Is He working at your expense or is He working through you?
My response: “Well, it feels like it’s at our expense since we are the ones suffering.
I don’t know what the other individual was going through at the time. I do have a pretty good guess, but a guess is all it is, and mostly likely that’s all it ever will be. And that’s fine.
But as our situation goes on, I can’t help but wonder what it is God is doing that He’s not ready to let us see yet. I know He has a plan and that He is working on it even as I write this. My nearly insatiable curiosity prompts me to ask Him everyday for a glimpse into what He is doing so that I can “really know” that there is a point behind all of this. Then, my faith reminds me that I don’t need to see what God is doing to know that He is doing something and that it will be for my good, for my husband’s good, for the good of our children, and their children, and everyone we come into contact with from here on out. But…you know, I still want to know. I still want to see. But…if I did see, I know what I would do. I would try to get my hands all over whatever it is He is doing. I would try to rationalize and call it helping, but really it would be trying to exercise some control over the situation, and likely, in the hope that people would praise me for what I’d done. I am convinced that is why God has let most of my grandiose plans fizzle before they ever really have a chance to get off the ground. He intends to get ALL the glory for ALL the good that comes out of this situation, and He wants me to know that and come to terms with it.