Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

On last resorts

Okay, one of my Random Firing Neurons gained supremacy within my skull. It was given the upper hand by a comment made in one of the earlier posts, so do the host a favor. COMMENT FREQUENTLY! Those of you who know me from the Rott' know that I usually respond to other people's comments rather well, or at least don't suck at it. Which cannot be said of my skills at writing stuff that springs from my skull. Those skills sucks rocks.

Anyway, my thought was on prayer, and using it as a last resort. This is wrong. Prayer is the single most powerful tool a Christian has at his disposal. A direct line to God is not something to be trotted out "when all else fails". It can, and should be, the first option. God delivers on His promises, and He has promised to answer our prayers. So, take Him up on it. That's what He wants you to do.

Prayer is not what many people think it is, though. God always answers prayers, but He may not answer them in the way we want Him to. Whenever we ask God for something, He answers in one of several ways. He says "yes", He says "no", He says "not right now", or He says "I've got a better idea". When He does answer a prayer, we just have to be in tune with God enough to recognize His answers.

An example of this is a story I learned at a rather young age. A storm had come in, and dropped so much rain that the dam holding back the river had busted. There was a town in the path of the newly-released deluge, and the citizens had to evacuate. A Christian took the opportunity to witness to the town, and stood on his porch, praying to the Lord for deliverance from the floodwaters. After an hour, with the water around his knees, a man in a canoe paddled up, and asked the man if he needed some assistance. Our good Christian replied "No thank you. The Lord of Hosts will provide for me, He will protect me". The canoeist said "Suit yourself, pal." and paddled off. After another hour, with the water around his waist, his Faith undaunted, a man in a skiff paddled up, and asked our Faithful Witness if he needed assistance. He again responded "No thank you. The Lord of Hosts will provide for me, He will protect me." The skiffster said "Suit yourself, pal.", and paddled off. Another hour later, and we find our Saint with water up to his neck. He is having trouble praying, but he is undettered by mere discomfort. A man in a rowboat paddles up and asks the same question as the other two would-be-saviors. Again, our good Christian resonds "No thank you. The Lord of Hosts will provide for me, He will protect me." So, our boater paddles of with much the same response as the other two. Another hour later, our Christian finds himself face to face with the Living God, in Heaven. His faith is shaken, his world has been rendered false. He pleads with God, "Lord, Lord! Why did you not provide for me? Why did you not protect me?". God responds with amazement "What do you mean?! I sent three boats!"

While humorous, this story does illustrate the tendency among many Christians, and people who are on the cusp of becoming Christians, to demand that the Lord of Hosts deliver us in a spectacular fashion, when the mundane would work just as well. Once I realized that God DID move in mysterious ways, I realized that He wasn't always going to respond to my requests and prayers in an obvious fashion. Sometimes, His responses were fashioned to appear as mere coincidences. Such as the time I had heard a radio play about Pastor Deitrich Bonhofer, of Germany, who was executed by the Nazi's in 1945 for refusing to acknowledge the Nazi Church as the head of ALL churches in Germany. I only heard an episode or two, and missed the last several episodes, due to me not working anymore on the days that it was broadcast, and being too lazy to actually wake up on time to hear it. But, I was intrigued by the story, and found myself wanting to know more about him. Two days later, I was waiting to speak to my pastor, and was in the church library, perusing books that I really should not have been left alone with, when I found a video tape, with the title "Bonhofer". I was now positive that God had read my heart, and placed me and that tape within arm's reach of each other, to answer a half-prayer of mine to learn more about Pastor Bonhofer. I took the tape home, and watched it. Imaging my surprise, and awe at the power of the Lord of Hosts, when the movie started at EXACTLY THE SAME POINT WHERE I HAD STOPPED LISTENING TO THE RADIO PROGRAM! I was able to continue the story of Pastor Bonhofer, without having to review stuff I already knew, or missing parts I had not heard. Events like this have been commonplace for me in the last two years, and I have learned to recognize them for what they are: Answers to prayers.

If God will answer minor little prayers like that, when I haven't even really spent that much effort asking for them, what will He do when I ask Him for help with more important things? He will answer those prayers, also. I have learned to ask God first, and then accept the answers He gives me. I have had a much easier time dealing with difficult situations when I have asked God first, rather than try and tough it out on my own, and ask God when I can't do anymore. I now ask first, and use my efforts towards doing what He tells me to do in response.

I highly reccommend this behavior. If you are not doing it, you are showing a lack of faith in God, and He does not deal well with lack of faith. Trust in Him, and see if He does not deliver. I garauntee you, if you trust God, He will deliver. He has promised to do so. You may not like His answer to your prayer, but you will be better off if you accept His answer.

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country