Is it that God is not listening, does not care, or wishes for the abused to remain in their terrible condition? Or maybe none of those is correct. Maybe He is answering our prayers, but not the way we expect.
In the midst of ongoing heartache, for many years the consistent, intentional prayer of my heart was that God would open the eyes of my abusive spouse and restore our relationship to wholeness. Now the Word says that if I “have the faith of a mustard seed,” the mountain will be moved. So I prayed for more faith. And because Paul wrote that, “love never fails,” I prayed that God would make me more loving. I also believed that my prayer would eventually win the day because, “the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” And in His miraculous name, I anticipated the ultimate, favorable answer to the singular cry of my heart: “Lord, save our marriage.”
As the days and years passed, our home life not only did not improve, it became increasingly worse. Looking back, I wonder if the Lord intended to supply an answer, but what He sought to offer me was an answer to a prayer I had never prayed. For there was another Scripture that had escaped my notice. It is the prayer with a promise. It does not promise to move mountains, but insists that if I petition for understanding, it will be given.
James 1:5 “If any man lacks wisdom let Him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
All that time my prayers were not centered on discovering wisdom, but on demanding a predetermined outcome. Looking back, I am certain God was willing to speak to me, but I was expecting Him to have a chat with my husband! I wonder how many times His Spirit had been waiting for me to wait on Him.
There were desperate moments when I sought Him and then listened, really listened. It was in those moments that I heard the wisdom of the ages whisper into my spirit, and the voice never once told me what I should tell my wayward husband to do. The impressions He left were meant for me – a directive to act upon, a timely affirmation, a heavenly promise. And isn’t that what I really wanted after all: to know that He was aware of my situation and was still moving in my life?
In the end, it may not matter how honorable my intentions are; I have no assurance that my words, my faith or my behavior will afford me the power to sway the will or soften the hardened heart of another. It is my heart I need to worry about. If I listen and follow the sound of His voice, He will take care of the rest. I have seen it happen. I know it is so.
I still talk to God, but I am less focused on what I might see and more interested in what I might hear. I want to be a vessel open to being filled up with whatever measure of wisdom He is willing to impart into this little life of mine. Who am I, after all, that He would speak to me at all? When He does, I only hope that I am listening.
The Lord confides in those who fear him; He makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:14-15
Cindy Burrell www.hurtbylove.com
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