Tuesday, September 10, 2013

No Hold Buttons

The other day I attempted to complete a government form on the internet, but I got to a place where I was totally stumped. It was probably a simple thing for most, but my situation didn’t quite line up with the design of the form, and I didn’t know how to proceed. So, I cancelled (or so I thought) what I had done up to that point, and waited until regular business hours in order to contact a representative at the agency. After inputting some of the information by poking buttons on my phone (which really has no buttons) I got to a point where I was to be put on hold to await the next available representative. Then a recording came on and told me that this would be a very long time (my words), but in lieu of waiting on hold I could leave my phone number and a representative would call me back during a specified window of time. I hung up and waited. When the call came back, it turns out that I really did not need to file a new request, but that the existing one was still valid and I could continue to operate under it. After hearing this I was relieved, said ‘thank you,’ and again hung up.

I am so glad that God does not have a hold button or a complicated system of information input. Rather, we have multiple reassurances in the Bible that He is always with us and that He hears our every prayer. As Psalm 139 says, He is intimately acquainted with all of our ways.  And as we read in the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus is with us always. We even know from Scripture that we have been sealed and are secure in Christ by the Holy Spirit. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14, NASB95) Jesus, himself, assures us with, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27–30, NASB95)

And regarding our prayers, even when it feels to us like God may not be hearing, we can know that He does. John tells us, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5:14–15, NASB95) The reality is that God does not answer every request the way we want, or even when we want, but He does answer them perfectly in all ways and without fail.

A former fellow staff member and very close friend used to say every week, “God always answers prayer. He is never late and He is never early, but He is always on time.” You would think after hearing this as many times as I did over many, many years I would have it memorized perfectly, but I don’t. And you know, for as long as I’ve know God and seen His faithfulness, there are times (more than I would like) that I neglected this truth as I hoped for or expected something else. But the truth is that He has always been present and He has always been attentive, and still is. My responsibility is to come before Him in worship and to offer back to Him everything that He has given me in service (Romans 12:1-2), to continue to bring everything to Him, and to trust Him to attend to every detail.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:19–20, NASB95)
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (9/10)

I am always available to you. Once you have trusted Me as your Savior, I never distance Myself from you. Sometimes you may feel distant from Me. Recognize that as feeling; do not confuse it with reality. The Bible is full of My promises to be with you always. As I assured Jacob, when he was journeying away from home into unknown places, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. My last recorded promise to My followers was: Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Let these assurances of My continual Presence fill you with Joy and Peace. No matter what you may lose in this life, you can never lose your relationship with Me.

“”For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the Lord who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10, NASB95)

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15, NASB95)

“teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NASB95)

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