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 great 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, was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
G. Curtis Jones, “Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier,” in 1000 Illustrations (Nashville: Broadman, 1986), pp. 298-99.
This soldier experienced the voice of God, and listened to every word. A struggle? Yes. But this prayer was written on the other side of his struggle. He understood God never met him with silence.
He had only to listen.
The line near the end which states “Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered” really grabbed me.
I don’t know if you are like me, always trying to understand, to envision all of the moving parts, to have God’s plan unfold in my mind so that I can organize it and put it in it’s proper perspective and order. But for some reason, He doesn’t give me that option. And I sense within, that the real battle lies with me, where the biggest obstacle I face is not from without but from within myself.
“Almost despite myself ….”
I’m reading through the Old Testament again and looking afresh at the different people that God interacted with, right from the very beginning. Each interaction is unique, and Moses is the first interaction that I can actually hear the wheels turning within Moses’ mind about what God asks him to do.
One would think that the direct interaction that God had with so many of the people within the Bible would have been profound, and it was, yet through my new eyes, Moses is the first person that unfolds where the “myself” becomes so obvious. Where what God asks Moses to do is weighed against the insecurities of the “myself” within Moses.
I’ve got a pretty good idea where all this is all going and I do see a path forming before my eyes. And God continues to graciously provide the contrast between “my way” and “His way”.
Romans 12:2 NIV “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
And I’m pretty sure that the Apostle Paul experienced this too.
Romans 7: 21-25 NIV “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
“Almost despite myself ….” kind of like “in spite of myself”, where the renewing of our mind involves a programming update and the old code is removed and a new shorter code inserted where everything starts and ends at one source. God’s way.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!