Have you ever asked people to describe you? It can be humbling. I remember a friend remarking that I was the type of person that would lend her my pants one day but if she asked the next day, I’d tell her to get a job and buy her own pants.
Yeah, I’m kind of guilty of that.
I also have a close-knit group of friends that I have known and loved for decades. We also are prayer partners. During a recent visit one of them revealed that they were taken aback when I told them the truth in love, and not what they wanted to hear.
Yeah, I’m kind of guilty of that, too.
So it’s not a surprise that I’ve been going to the Lord asking for His help and insight as a praying person. As my confessions above show, I’m not an enabler. I grew up around addiction, so I err more on the side of tough love.
But as a follower of Christ, I want to be full of compassion and love. Oh, how I fall short. We all do.-Julie Arduini
As I’ve prayed, I realized there’s someone in the Bible who totally lived a similar situation. Jonah. God called him to go to Ninevah and warn the people to change their ways or face God’s wrath, but Jonah instead gets on a boat headed for Tarshish.
For years I thought Jonah disobeyed because he was scared. What I later learned was he didn’t think the people of Ninevah deserved a warning or a second chance.
Knowing I’m not the only harsh judge in history is a little comforting, but knowing how the rest of Jonah’s story plays out isn’t. I don’t want to cause trouble for others to the point that I have to jump ship. I definitely don’t want to get swallowed by a whale. And there’s no way I want to exit that situation by being vomited out. I shudder to think how my attitude would disappoint God, cause me to lose possible blessings, and make things rough for those around me.
I don’t know about you, but the Christian life is hard. There are times I truly don’t want to pray. If someone is in a loop that they don’t want to get off from, I don’t want a bandaid on the situation. I want them set free, but that wasn’t the prayer request. I struggle with that. Do I not pray at all? Pray for the basic thing that was asked, or the big thing I want to pray for? There are more times than I want to admit that I quickly process a prayer request and measure the worth. Is it a good prayer request? What if there’s someone coming almost hourly with requests? Is it right to think, as I sometimes do, that there should be a limit as to how many times someone comes to me?
Here’s the rub, and you know the answer as much as I do. If we can go to God unlimited times with the same issue, how can I deny someone else the same opportunity? And as selfish and superficial as I sound, there have been times God’s used my flawed self to pray for things where I witnessed some crazy, amazing, supernatural results for His glory. I obeyed and the experience was beyond description. The moments so incredible it’s a wonder I wouldn’t obey every time.
When I write, my vow was to always write what God wanted, when He wanted it. Many times when I blog, it’s because I’m on the other side of something and I want to encourage someone. This time? This Jonah thing? I’m still riding that wave. I still fight the urge to run like Jonah, or judge situation and whether prayer is deserved. Yet I know I don’t want the hard lesson Jonah learned. I don’t want to be remembered as harsh and disobedient. Sure, my friends know I’m tough and nurture isn’t natural for me, but they also know I take my faith seriously. I truly want to be like Christ. I believe prayer moves mountains and changes everything. I want to keep being a vessel God can use to further His Kingdom.
The good news? I don’t live near water, so I’m not near any whales.
The better news? I know I’m a flawed vessel and I’m on my knees daily asking for help.
The best news? Thanks to Jesus, my Father hears my daily prayer, sometimes hourly, often about the same thing. And He doesn’t get tired of my voice, my requests. He doesn’t get annoyed that I’m not living up to my potential. He’s not frustrated when I ask for a bandaid solution when He knows I need some spiritual surgery.
And if your struggle is like mine, this best news is for you, too.
I can’t believe we’re in the season for Christmas reads, but here it is! Restoring Christmas will get you in the festive mood and it’s .99 for Kindle for a limited time. It’s free for Kindle Unlimited. Also, are you following me or your other Christian Reads authors on Amazon, GoodReads, and BookBub? Doing so helps you stay in touch with our latest book news and helps you access easy ways to review. Thanks so much!