In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, “Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God himself who gives the answer.”
We know that lust is that feeling of needing something right now, at once. So many times I have been guilty of going to God for answers; wanting to know now what he’s up to, what his purpose is and what he’s going to do about the situation that I’m in. That is the wrong reason for entering into prayer.
When reading this quote I can’t help but think of all the times I’ve gone into prayer with the wrong motivation. What is my goal when it comes to prayer? Do I seek answers or God himself? There will always be a situation before me that requires prayer, but that prayer should consist of more than just looking and asking for answers. God seeks relationship with us, not our demand of answers.
One of the dangers of living in a society driven by results that we are much more likely to go to God for answers, instead of going to him just to be before him. Unfortunately for us, this is much easier to do in a difficult situation. Results are nice; they can put your mind at ease and help you plan the next step. But, sometimes I think the reasons for hard situations are much more complex than that.
Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances simply because they will drive us to him, to his presence, and to a greater understanding of who he is. Hard times also give God the opportunity to be glorified in our lives, resulting in praise to him. Often, hard times will cause us to grow in him. James 1:2-5 remind us to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” A similar reminder is found in first Peter 1:6-7, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Chambers says, “The purpose of prayer is that we get a hold of God, not the answer.” Unger’s Bible dictionary defines prayer as “the expression of man's dependence upon God for all things.” Prayer is simply described as communication with God in Nelson’s Bible dictionary. Basically, prayer is our connection and lifeline to God.
What answers are you looking for today? Are you pursing God or results? Honestly we may never know all the reasons for hard times, but he will reveal himself to us if earnestly seek him. As he does so, answers may come. They may come all at once, very slowly, and sometimes they may not come at all. No matter how things unfold we can be confident in his promise to never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). We can also trust that he will work all things for good for those who love him (Rom 8:28).Here’s a little bit of perspective for you. Please know that I share this simply because I believe God is already working to glorify himself in our situation, I do not share this to gain sympathy or pity.
Here’s the cool part, this word about looking for answers or God came to me several weeks ago. It’s such an encouragement that the God of the universe has gone before us, and in a way began preparing us for what we are facing now. So; I share this so that you might be encouraged in the fact that God really does hold it all in his hand, he is in control, and he is still holy. No matter the situation you find yourself in, my you find rest in that fact.