Careful what you pray for!
I’m a big believer in praying Scripture as God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). A few months ago, I ran across this psalm and had an A-ha moment. I mean, who wouldn’t want to pray this passage of blessing?
Psalm 126 The Message (MSG)
A Pilgrim Song
126 1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.
4-6 And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
Yeah, God! Do it, again!
Let me be clear that I’m not a believer or a fan of the prosperity gospel. Nor do I view my God as some sort of genie in a bottle in order to fulfill selfish prayers for me and my family.
That’s not who He is and it’s certainly not how I should view my Heavenly Father.
However, I have seen Him do amazing, unimaginable, seemingly impossible things in my life and I know He can choose to do it again, IF it is His will.
In the past, He rained blessing on our family after a time of loss and struggle. He provided unexpected blessing during a time of despair. He supernaturally implemented a plan for me to stay home with my children when just nine months earlier it did not seem fathomable. (Just to name a few.)
To say my God is big feels like a gross understatement.
So, as we have been in a season of spending for my daughter’s wedding, I must admit these verses seemed promising. Not to sound greedy, but any extra blessing here would be great, God! If you feel like showering on us “armloads of blessing” we would really appreciate it!
Often, He doesn’t answer the way we expect Him to.
What had not occurred to me about praying the beautiful psalm of praise of remembrance and petition was that God had done great things for them after a terrible time of captivity, and they are filled with joy.
After all, Psalm 126 is a Psalm of Ascent, which itself implies that you are rising from a lower position – a pit, a valley, or place of humility.
There had to be a trial before there could be a blessing.
Last week instead of receiving the “armloads of blessing” for which I had prayed, my husband lost his job due to cuts made after a company acquisition. The timing is almost comical because as I am writing this the wedding is only 22 days away!
But I know God’s got this.
In my faith journey, there are 3 things I am learning when setbacks happen.
1. Accept the trial. God knows what He is doing. Although I would never compare our situation to the severity of Job’s, we can know through his story that nothing happens to us in life that God has not permitted. It is up to us, however, how we handle the adversity. Whether it be a financial crisis or a major health issue, may we choose to accept the trial and stand firm in our faith, making our Heavenly Daddy proud. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 As my pastor would say, it’s like giving the devil a punch in the nose!
2. Rely on God for restoration. The psalm really says it all! He is beyond capable and all -powerful to work on our behalf. He has repeatedly come through for us. In fact, a little over two years ago, we were in the same situation and He was wonderful to us! (verse 3) Sometimes God must take you back to the trial in order to bring the next blessing. Our job is to trust and persevere. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
3. Praise Him continually and expectantly. To be perfectly honest, we were blindsided over the job cut but there are so many silver linings in this cloud. Ironically, I was driving home that day thanking God for all His many blessings in our lives. Perhaps at the very moment my husband was receiving the news of his job cut, I was in a spirit of praise? At one point, I remember being moved to tears as I was counting the ways God has blessed me and our family. And not just material blessings, but for the stuff money can’t buy. For my husband – his big ol’ generous heart, the way he loves my older two children as his own, the way he loves me and all my messy crazy. For my kids – they are not perfect (none of us are!), but I am so proud of them and for their love of the Lord, they are turning out to be remarkable people and that makes a mama’s heart almost burst with thankfulness. For many answered prayers…I could go on and on…
So, when I walked in the door with my TJ Maxx bags and saw the unpleasant look on my husband’s face, I still had no idea. He said he didn’t want to give me the news while I was driving. Hugging him, I remember saying something like, “It’s okay, God has something better.” And I truly believe it. We are not losing sleep. He always provides. He is our Jehovah-Jireh. My God is an awesome God!“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:28
So, do it again, God! We have faith that You will.
Trusting Him with expectant hearts,
For His Glory,