We don`t pray because of fear. We pray because of faith.

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don't want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of 'good time' is seldom in sync with ours.” -Oswald Chambers

          A couple of weeks ago I experienced this last resort use of prayer on a daily if not hourly basis. I received news that my oldest sister had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma and I began pleading with the Lord to heal her miraculously in those very moments. I have used this last resort prayer through several trials in my past yet each time again God renews my mind and heart towards his presence and care over our daily lives.

           This doesn`t change that sometimes life just doesn`t make sense. Why her? Why this timing? Why at all? Why does he allow these things to take place and what is his purpose in allowing them? It is easy to be plagued by these questions and so the fear that takes root when we begin to ask, "What if...?" Yet God is faithful. As we fight and struggle to accept our circumstances and therefore his will, he patiently waits for us to return to him and to submit our hearts and minds to his truth and his peace beyond all understanding. 

          Instead of asking why  we should be asking when. The scriptures promise suffering for the life of the believer and we as Paul said should be honored to share in the sufferings of Christ. If we never experience suffering how then can we identify with Christ who suffered much on our behalf? We become all to comfortable in this world and suffering is perhaps our only way into realizing we are not of this world and we are meant for more. When we are thrown into the depths of suffering we dive into the very heart of Christ and his forgiveness and sacrifice becomes so much more to us. We see him a way we never could before.

       After months of suffering, Job finally says to God, "I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee" (Job 42:5)

   Paul reckoned in his soul (v. 8): "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." 

       Two men seasoned with suffering came to a deeper knowledge and faith in Christ. What else matters?

      So I take a leap to say God`s purpose in your suffering is that you know Christ deeply, more personally. There may not be any other reason. In the moments of our pain and trials it is hard to wonder anything other than God why are you doing this. Rest in His rest, knowing He is drawing you nearer...and prayer is the means by which we learn to rest. We stay in constant dialogue with Him and His peace overwhelms us and transforms us. There is no place for fear in His arms.

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