It Seemed God Did Not Care

A group of guerrilla soldiers during the civil war of the sixties in the ex-Belgian Congo, beat and kicked Helen Roseveare. She felt terribly alone. Couldn't God have stepped in and protected her? Didn't He care? She was almost sick with fear and apprehension.

Suddenly she knew that God was speaking to her, and in a strangely wonderful way a great peace took possession of her tortured mind. She became conscious of this simple question, "Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?"

He did not ask her to thank Him for the savage cruelty, but for showing His trust in her. It was an amazing thought. She knew that she trusted Him, but it was a new thought that He wanted to be able to trust her.

"Yes," He seemed to say, "of course I could have prevented this happening. I could have taken you out of this situation. But it would help Me, in My bigger plan for others, if you could go through this with Me, without accusing Me of deserting you, or even asking Me for a detailed explanation."

It was humbling to Dr. Roseveare to think that God had been willing to trust her with some part of the fulfilling of His plan. Could she thank Him? Yes, by His grace she could and as she did, peace flowed into her. 

This did not lessen the pain, but suddenly, it made everything different. She was now suffering with Christ, in Christ, for Christ. The whole experience became a privilege.

Dear Lord, help us to be willing to take a sip of the cup that You drank for us.

"Can you drink the cup I drink?" (Mark 10:38).

"He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them" (Matthew 26:27).

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Prayer Diary Surprise

After years on the mission field, Jonathan Goforth visited his prayer partner in London, telling her of the great revival movements he had experienced in China. She invited him to look at her prayer diary. 

With great joy, they discovered that the times of her special intercession for him corresponded exactly to the times of his greatest revivals.

This is a modern day story similar to the account of Joshua fighting the Amalekites. 

Moses told Joshua to choose some men to fight: "Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands...As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning" (Exodus 17:9, 11).

It is not the one who wields the sword who determines if the battle is won, but the ones who faithfully carry the burden in prayer.

Thank you, Jesus, for those who carry on their hearts what is on Yours.

"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice" (Ps. 55:17).

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Practice Fellowshipping With God

Samuel Chadwick said, "The only thing in the world God has ever asked a man to do is to trust Him." I like to remember those words when I'm seeking to know Him in a difficult or a perplexing moment. God is saying, "Trust me to give you the mind of Christ, the right attitude, the appropriate words. I am your wisdom. Believe that I continually provide all you need."

I heard a speaker from Kenya who began by saying, "I don't know what I'm going to say. I'm just here to enjoy God and for us to enjoy each other." It was apparent as he spoke, though, that he had a wealth of material to share, but He was anticipating the joy of trusting the Spirit to give Him the exact words to say.

In a few days I was to speak to a group on what it means to abide in Christ using John 15. Could I also practice abiding and "enjoy God" as I spoke? I am accustomed to taking pages of notes to the podium. But could I speak on moment by moment abiding in Christ if I were unwilling to trust the Spirit to guide my thoughts while I was speaking? If all God was asking me to do was trust Him, I wanted to be faithful to do that.

So I trusted Him as I wrote only an outline and a few sketchy notes. I spoke knowing the Spirit was giving me what I should say.

Out of our intimate communion with Christ, His life will flow through us. When our focus is on loving and trusting Him, He is free to do His work. What more could we want?

If we have received the Holy Spirit, He is perpetually within whether we sense His presence or not. Then as we cultivate an awareness of His presence, we become increasingly attuned to Him.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for never failing to provide what we need when we are trusting You.

"May the...fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Corinthians 13:14).

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Is My Prayer Right?

George Mueller's friends said he would not voice a petition without a "word from God" to back that petition. In fact, Mueller never started petitioning until after he had spent time in God's Word. He then prayed with an open Bible and filled his petitions with God's promises. In George Mueller's lifetime, God gave him not only over a million sterling pounds, but also, Mueller believed, more than thirty thousand souls in answer to prayer.

In 1 Chronicles 5:22, God's people won the war because the battle "was of God" (KJV). Whenever the Israelites sought the Lord regarding which battles to fight and then went at His command, they always had victory. On the other hand, if they went without His leading, they lost the battle.

Prayer is our battleground, and we, too, must expect God to help us know which battles are "of God."

Sometimes the Holy Spirit lets us know our request would not fulfill His desire.  As we continue to pray, exact words may form in our minds, words that we recognize the Spirit is pleased for us to pray. It may simply be a heartfelt, "My deepest desire is for You to be glorified in this situation."

If that is our desire in prayer, we do not choose how God answers our request. George Mueller said a calmness of mind, having no will of his own, but only wishing to please His Heavenly Father, enabled him to know God's will. Our concern is that the answer be His choice. 

Our goal in prayer is to discover what God wants us to ask Him to do so He will be glorified. We have not come to tell God what to do but to hear Him tell us what He wants to do. 

Dear Lord, help me be aware when my prayer is not expressing a desire for You to receive glory. 

."We do not know what we ought to pray...the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will" (Romans 8:26, 27). 

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I Needed a Word

One Easter morning, I awoke early with a heavy burden. I slipped away to my study, and as I prayed, a song began to play in my mind:

"Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o'er His foes.

"He arose a Victor o'er the dark domain...." 

The word "Victor" reverberated in my mind. He was Victor--victorious!--over the dark domain. My faith rested in that knowledge, and I had joy as I trusted Jesus to be victorious over the present dark situation.

But during church, the doubts re-surfaced, and I was tempted to worry rather than trust. "Please, Jesus, give me another word."

As we walked out of church, I glanced up at the shelf above the coat rack. Someone had stuck a sign there advertising the play our church had put on that week. It said, "Victor!"

He had given me one word just as I had asked. My heart was again light.

We can choose to doubt or to believe. When He sees our hearts are set on believing, He knows how to give us the exact word we need. 

"This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4).

Thank You, Jesus, that You call to us, "I am Victor over every burden you carry. Faith in Me is the victory."

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

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