Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Lord, we are completely dependent on you…"

it was a simple statement of fact — not the kind of bargaining that people sometimes try when they want God to answer a prayer and somehow imagine that if they kowtow enough, he’ll be pleased. when that happens, one can discern something in the way that it gets said, something that is hoping that God will be favorably impressed by a show of deference.

but this was different. we were stuck on the side of the road just outside of kingman, az, in 110F/43C heat. the van had given out, just after we’d finished cresting a hill. there were no prior indicators of trouble on today’s drive, though it was obviously similar to what we experienced in new mexico. and we began to pray.

i think for some of us, there was something disheartening about encountering the same problem again, after God had seemingly already miraculously won that victory. but it was also familiar ground, territory that had been ‘taken’ before. and as we prayed, b very matter-of-factly acknowledged, “Lord, we are completely dependent on you.” it wasn’t an attempt to manipulate God, still less false humility (the kind of thing that gets said because it sounds right); we all agreed as soon as we heard it. being broken down in the middle of the mojave desert has a way of clarifying these things, if they weren’t sufficiently clear already.

since you’re reading this, you have probably already inferred that the prayer was answered positively. within about 15 minutes, we were back on the road to los angeles and a visit with m’s mother’s side of the family. we are expecting to arrive in the mid-afternoon, after a relatively early 6:30am start. when we get there, i do hope to have the van looked at, not an automatic with the independence day holiday coming tomorrow.

but the thing that’s really on my mind is what God has for us in all of this. m has been a prayer warrior for a long time, the kind of person who lives through prayer and wins victories there. i pray and on occasion, have received amazing answers from God; but i have to confess that i don’t think that i’ve done the heavy lifting in prayer in many areas of life (preaching and worship leading being notable exceptions). and i believe that, among other things, God wants me to learn to take and hold territory in prayer. i have been the long-term beneficiary of an intercessor wife and dozens of other prayer warriors who have upheld me, our family, and the various ministries in which we’ve been involved. but i have had the sense for a couple of months (at minimum) that God is opening the door for me to take this next step in learning to live by faith.

i’m not so self-centered as to think that all of this is for my benefit only. i know that there is something that God is giving to my daughters in this — in m’s modeling, in my taking hold of what he is offering, in their own concrete dependence on him, and in the experience of his powerful, miraculous response. you think that there might be something he has in this for my mother-in-law as well? ☺

a special ‘shout out’ to those of you who are interceding for us: thank you for keeping us in prayer. day by day, i am reminded that this is about more than getting to the seattle area safely (though that is a concern!). as always, it’s also about how God is shaping and meeting us, calling us into a deeper dependence on him and into a more profound confidence that he will always come through for us. we really do seek and find our life in him.

now it came about after this that the sons of moab and the sons of ammon, together with some of the meunites, came to make war against jehoshaphat. then some came and reported to jehoshaphat, saying, “a great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of aram and behold, they are in hazazon-tamar (that is engedi).”

jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all judah. so judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of judah to seek the LORD. then jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of judah and jerusalem, in the house of the LORD before the new court, and he said, “o LORD, the God of our fathers, are you not God in the heavens? and are you not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? power and might are in your hand so that no one can stand against you. did you not, o our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people israel and give it to the descendants of abraham your friend forever? they have lived in it, and have built you a sanctuary there for your name, saying, ‘should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you (for your name is in this house) and cry to you in our distress, and you will hear and deliver us.’ now behold, the sons of ammon and moab and mount seir, whom you did not let israel invade when they came out of the land of egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from your possession which you have given us as an inheritance. o our God, will you not judge them? for we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

2 chronicles 20:1-12


Bora said...

I'm breathing a sigh of relief with your safe arrival in LA. Next prayer request: find a reliable, knowledgeable, trustworth (and open) mechanic!

marguerite said...

yes, we thank God for bringing you safe and sound back to california -- will you be stopping in the bay area at all? (you've covered so many miles in such a short time!) -- greetings to grandma p.

gr8god said...

bora and marguerite - thank you for your prayers. we were not able to find a mechanic yesterday, but do believe that we have isolated the problem (vapor lock) and think we have a strategy for avoiding it, so hopefully, we're good to go.

yes, we'll be coming through the bay area, though in a pretty big hurry. we'll be in san bruno on the night of 7/5, possibly in berkeley for lunch on 7/6, then back down to san jose for a reception down there. i had envisioned having people from around the bay area there, but the details are still not settled at this point (or at least, i don't know them), so it's felt hard to invite people. and now, the invitations, if they go out, will be very late. :-( so i'm guessing that that gathering will be a smaller, local gathering, assuming it still comes together.

depending on the details, you all would be welcome to come down, or there is a chance we might see you on the 6th if you're around. it'd probably be brief, though. at the least, i'm sure we'll be in town a bit more often, being on the west coast and all, so we're sure to catch up eventually --

Bora said...

when I described what was happening to your car, Wes called it--vapor lock. that's what you get from all those years of listening to Car Talk.

Esther said...

wow. thanks for sharing your stories barry! theyre wonderful. its been such fun reading them and really like how you write.