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Just Jesus

God does not always answer our prayers the way we want Him to.  But He does answer our prayers.  And He answers them in such a way that our ultimate good is always in mind.  That end is for us to be with Jesus, and to become like Jesus.

Perhaps no writing better expresses this reality than the prayer that was found in a deceased Confederate soldier’s pocket after a bloody Civil War battle.

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.

I invite you to sit with, ruminate on, and pray this prayer.  Allow Jesus to become the only object of your desire—the “one thing” you ask for.  Welcome the circumstances that arrive in your life as the material God desires to use to help transform you.  And take time to look back and notice that while you “got nothing” that you asked for, you gained everything you “hoped for.”  Because only “one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:42).

Just Jesus.

The Slow Work of God

Last night at our Fire Young Adults Gathering, I talked about the the patience that is needed to believe that God is working in, amidst, and despite the setbacks that we face in life.  Trusting in this works takes patience.  Trusting in this work takes faith to believe God is at work in our lives even when we cannot see it.  And like most growth, spiritual growth is not possible to see while it is happening, but only after it has happened.  (In most cases.)  This is why Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wisely counsels us with these powerful words:

"Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law is the law of all progress that it be made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time.”