A long week, preceded by months of preparation put me in a funk.
After opening night of our church musical, my body, my emotions let down. How can you know your effort is worth it? The entire next day, my mind swarmed with questions. How much is enough? Was the work valuable? Were people touched? Does it matter? Does it make a difference? One question in particular haunted me.
Is God pleased?
I lay in bed Friday night, two performances behind me, yet doubts lingering, tears dripping into my pillow, begging Him for confirmation of His pleasure.
It means nothing if You don't like it Lord. How can I know if You're pleased?
I don't need accolades from others. I need to know what You think. Can You do something for me? How about a sign?
As I thought about a good indication of His pleasure, my mind went to what I wanted, what I wished to see. My brothers aren't big music or theater buffs. They rarely come to our productions. I don't blame them and don't push them because I know it's not their thing, but I've always wondered what they'd think of the words I write. They have no idea I do this, but whenever I pen anything, I think of them. Would they think it sounds too preachy? Is it something they could relate to? Thinking of their response helps me write better dialogue, more realistic conversations, yet they never hear or read my words. So when I thought of the perfect sign of God's pleasure, I thought of them.
God, I'll know You're pleased if you bring my brothers. That would be a miracle.
The minute I prayed it, I knew it was too much to ask. I was testing God, putting conditions on Him that weren't right and I regretted saying it.
I'm sorry Lord. Never mind.
The next morning the heaviness lingered so I took some time to see what Scripture says about God's pleasure. I looked up references containing the words "please", "pleased", "pleasing" and "pleasure," and found these.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He earnestly rewards those who seek Him.
Yet again, He said, "Trust Me."
Okay Lord, I'll trust You are pleased. I'll finish the work and believe You will use it for Your purposes. I won't shrink back. I'll rest in the fact that I've earnestly sought You and assume that is enough to make You smile.
“Prayer invites us to rest in the fact that God is in control, and the world’s problems are ultimately God’s, not ours. If I spend enough time with God, I will inevitably begin to look at the world from the point of view that more resembles God’s own. What is faith, after all but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”
~ Philip Yancey ~
Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?
Because what is faith if not believing in what you can't see? Faith believes. Faith trusts. Faith knows God is in control. Faith rests. I chose to have faith.
The rest of the performances went well and my spirit was encouraged by the kind comments of others. I didn't look for God to do anything and knew my time in prayer had brought about a change in perspective I desperately needed. Though my spirit could have been daunted by a small crowd for Saturday's performance, I trusted God brought exactly the people He wanted. I enjoyed conversations with people afterward and felt satisfied with God's leading and grateful for His goodness.
So when I entered the auditorium for the final performance, I thanked God for allowing me to be part of His work. I descended into the orchestra pit one last time, played the tuning note for the players, got my score and script settled, then nervously scanned the crowd to pass the few minutes before we started. I acknowledged familiar faces, joked with some in the front row and spotted my mother. As I waved her way, my sister-in-law peeked her head out and my heart beat faster as I struggled to see behind heads blocking my view. There, in row four, next to my mother, sat both of my brothers and their wives.
Though I blinked back tears, nothing could take the smile from my face. God is so good. So very, very good. Though He got His point across that I needed to do what was before me and trust Him for what may come of it, He still threw in some pizzazz and answered my prayer.
First came the lesson in faith, then He let me know, beyond any doubt, He was pleased. Wow.
God hasn't always worked this way in my life. Usually He delays His answers long enough for me to wonder if He hears. Often He says no. And yet, when I come to Him in honest prayer, He makes any answer easier to swallow. His presence centers me and gives perspective. The prayer itself reassures me, regardless of His response.
For He wants us to come to Him, not for the flashy answers we desire, but for the attitude adjustment He provides, for the peace and perspective He offers. He wants us to commune with Him to give us His point of view, to build our faith.
And sometimes, He boosts our faith by replying in an amazing way.
Thank You Lord.
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