I have a friend who has a favorite quote that he has to use often. He plans out his week, prioritizes things and works his plan. All week long people come to him and ask him to stop what he’s doing in order to help them. They give excuses and sob stories to try to get him to stop what he’s doing so he can work on their project. Some will even invoke the boss’ name to try to get him to work on their stuff. “The boss says you need to work on this right away.” He’s learned that rarely has the boss ever asked him to stop what he’s doing in order to do an immediate request. So his normal response is, “A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine.” He then adds them to his list and gets to them later.
Being around him and watching people beg, barter and demand he do their project now always gets me to thinking how often I treat God that way. “God, if you get me out of this, I’ll do better next time.” “God, please! I need you to do this right now! Hurry!” “God, your Word says you have to do this and you can’t be untrue to your Word, so do it in Jesus name!” Sound familiar? I’ve prayed every one of those prayers in the last couple of weeks. I try to paint God into a corner in order to get Him to give me what I want. If that’s the on,y time we’re talking and that’s how I’m treating Him, there’s a spiritual maturity problem on my end. The phrase, “Thy will be done,” often comes to mind in those moment when I want it to be, “My will be done.”
In Psalm 69, David starts his prayer off, “Save me, O God! The water is up to my neck; I am sinking in deep mud, and there is no solid ground; I am out in deep water, and the waves are about to drown me” (GNT). He’s clearly in an emergency situation as he describes throughout this Psalm. However, in verse 13, his tone changes and he prays, “But as for me, I will pray to you, Lord; answer me, God, at a time you choose.” Instead or telling God when to help or even how to help, a sign of maturity is asking God to help in His time and in His way. I often wonder how many of my prayers go unanswered or that I don’t recognize the answer because I tell God how and when to answer, but those aren’t what His plans are. Jesus started the Lord’s Prayer giving God permission to have His will be done. Since He was teaching us to pray, let’s focus on the words we use in our prayers to make sure we’re asking according to His will and not ours.
The longer this pandemic goes on, the greater the economic impact its having. So many of us work in industries that are dependent on people getting together. Friends and family members have been getting let go from their jobs because there’s no work. I’ve had all my potential clients cancel as well. Small business friends are having to close their doors as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called out to God in the last week for myself and others who need to be rescued from this financially and for those affected by the disease. Like Abraham standing over Isaac on the altar, we’re praying and looking for the alternative provision of God as we call out to Him for that rescue.
King David knew what it was like to lose everything. He was chased from his calling by Saul and later by his son. He hid out in the mountains of Ein Gedi and called out to God for rescue constantly. He kept reminding himself how great God is in order to keep his problems in perspective. When you’re losing everything, it’s important to keep that eternal perspective and to continue calling out to God. Your prayers are not falling on deaf ears. You are not forgotten. Your job or business is not your source, God is. Keep calling out to Him in desperation asking Him to rescue you, and then look for His answer. It may be hidden like the ram was for Abraham. You’re going to have to take your eyes off of your problem though to look for God’s rescue.
Here are some Bible verses on God’s rescue.
1. The righteous call to the Lord, and he listens; he rescues them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17 GNT
2. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.
2 Corinthians 1:10 NLT
3. The LORD helps them and rescues them; He rescues them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.
Psalms 37:40 AMP
4. Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together.
Psalm 33:18-19 MSG
5. Oh, Lord God, answer my prayers! I need to see your tender kindness, your grace, your compassion, and your constant love. Just let me see your face, and turn your heart toward me. Come running quickly to your servant. In this deep distress, come and answer my prayer. Pull me out of this mess! Don’t let me sink! Rescue me from those who hate me and from all this trouble I’m in! Don’t let this flood drown me. Save me from these deep waters or I’ll go down to the pit of destruction.