Once and Again… Pledges, prayers and promises

In Once and Again I shared about the pledges I made to God regarding the godly man I hoped to share my heart with. I prayed for him. I dreamed dreams and planned a life and entrusted my hopes in this nameless man I had yet to meet.

It was a good request so I assumed God would have a great answer. So I fished a bit but waited for ‘the catch’ of a lifetime. And I waited. But teen-agers don’t wait well.

In many ways we are no different now than we were then. We are drawn to God and request a ‘godly’ thing and then wait expecting it to come ASAP on a silver platter.

When it doesn’t or a lot of time slips by OR heaven forbid the opposite shows up instead, we look up at God and go like ‘Whhhatttt?’

Great Scott! When Lenny showed up I bowed up thinking the devil was trying to distract me!

We should know by now, that God often made promises and pledges to His people that were 1) NOT delivered immediately but also 2) they were not handed out but had to be labored after or fought for.

Our heart can be in the right place, our intentions can be good BUT our calendars must be open to His timing and our hearts to His will.

Our faith levels must be equipped and ready for whatever is going to happen as God brings His promises and the answers to our prayers to pass.

Look at Abraham and Sarah. Two people very much in love with each other and the Lord. Two people who followed and sought after God.

How beautiful is that!

They are also two people who had made petitions and laid many prayers before the Lord. And because He is good the Lord let Abram know He had heard and was going to answer. But the calendar kept flipping and a slightly concerned Abram probed God, ‘How will I have generations to rise up behind me when we don’t even have one child and are getting old?’ (Wording mine)

God responded, ‘I’ve told you Abram that you’ll have as many descendants as the night sky has stars. But I’ll say it again…’ (Wording mine.) And He did. God firmly repeated His promise.

What a relief huh? That will fix it, right?

I guess not because that’s when these two legacy building saints get to thinking (which is always a problem when the plans you are attempting to assist with are God’s ;0). And in the same fashion that I had looked for a boy to fit the pledges and prayers I had placed at camp, they started searching with their eyes and mind for a way to reach their highly anticipated end.

They sought a way to ‘help’ God with the fulfillment of His promise.

It didn’t work out too well for Abraham and Sarah. In fact their ‘help’ actually created bigger problems.

So did mine.

So will yours.

Abraham would have Ishmael without Sarah and Ishmael’s descendants did and still do stand in opposition to Sarah and Abraham’s promised son and their descendants.

Me? Oh I had it together! After all I grew up in church, had men and women of faith invest in me, shoot I even went to church camp seven years straight!

I was…

a mess.

If you read the book you know I made choices that in no way prepared me to be the woman I needed to be. I let my faith go into limbo. Then I loosed the hope of finding the elusive ‘godly’ guy. I gave up trusting God, and waiting and then I gave up on me.

I didn’t consider my part in the process. It never occurred to me that I would need a strong faith that could also be gentle, patient, enduring and grounded for him! No way!!! I was waiting for my promised one to ride in on a white horse borrowed from God’s stables and sweep me up and complete me. Right?

Wrong. I thought wrong.

God put me in situations and gave me opportunities in order that I could be equipped to stand in the gap as He did the work on the man He had set aside to be my husband. He didn’t tell me, ‘Hey Sherry, I have you an incredible guy you but you’ll need boot camp in order to learn when to duck and run and cover your own. You’ll need to learn to pray in foxholes and when to hold your fire and when to give it all you’ve got. Etc., God didn’t say give it ten years and you’ll thank me.

He just pointed to the man and when I set out with another plan He made sure nothing got in the way of that moment with THAT man He had purposed to fulfill my prayers.

It never occurred to me that the guy I was praying for would show up without any of the characteristics I listed that last summer at camp.

I thought I knew the script and was therefore unprepared. I did not wait or listen or do any better than Abraham and Sarah even though He had made it clear while Lenny and I dated. He said I heard your prayer. I heard your pledge. I see the desires of your heart. So I’ll give you a vision, share a dream, lead you in prayer.

Still I did my thing.

Now I don’t know what Abraham and Sarah were thinking when they came up with their solution to their problem, but I know me. I disregarded everything I had been shown and told when it didn’t fall into place like I had anticipated.

The reality is that when left to our own devices we constantly try to redefine or rush God’s plans. When what we should actually do is keep our minds set on the wonder that is our God.

In Philippians, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (And I’ll add, keep you from making stupid choices :0)

This is where I could stop except for the fact that some of us have minds that simply don’t SHUTUP. So if you simply have to think then Paul continues and says that we should think on these things, things which are “ true, honest, right, pure, lovely, admirable – anything excellent or praiseworthy... In order that the God of peace will be with you.”

As God’s children we don’t set out to be defiant. YET our independent plans, thoughts and even prayers often leave us with the consequences He would have saved us from.

Entrust it all to Him. You don’t need to think. Let it go and give it, give them, give it all… to Him.

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