Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trained to do the Impossible!

I'm so grateful that God hears us when we pray! And it's such a thrill to read a description of how the Lord thunders down from heaven, lightning flashing and hailstones flying as He routs the enemies of King David in answer to his prayers (Psalm 18:6-15)! Then verses 17-18 say, "He rescued me from my strong enemy" and "the Lord was my support". It's such a spectacle of God's power in those opening verses of Psalm 18 that it's tempting to think that having "called upon the Lord" (v.6), we can then just sit back and watch God do His thing. He'll just come and rescue me because He delights in me (v.19).

But it's a long psalm, and if I read on, I get a different perspective. "For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? The God who equipped me with strength... [and] trains my hand for war... For You equipped me with strength for the battle" (vv.31-39). Sure it's God who "made those who rise up against me sink under me" (v.39), and who "made my enemies turn their backs to me" (v.40), but if I'm to apply this psalm to my own life, it's supposed to be me who "pursued my enemies and overtook them" (v.37). In other words, God is not interested in me being an unassertive spectator as I passively watch Him do His thing! He wants me as involved in the answer as I am in the cry for help so that I can grow through the experience of being trained by Him.

That doesn't mean that I end up answering my own prayers. No, it means I get the thrill of participating with God as He enables me to do the impossible as He answers my prayers -- "For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall!" (v.29). It very well may be that God wants us to patiently wait in hope for Him to answer our prayers (eg- Psalm 40:1), but I don't think that necessarily means that He wants us to passively wait in hope for those same answers. Some might say that (in a New Testament context) it's simply the act of praying in faith amidst the battles we face that constitutes doing the impossible, but I'm more inclined to believe that God wants us actively taking authority over things in the areas we pray about, and that's how God wants to help us to do the impossible as we "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, [and] cast out demons" (Matthew 10:8).

So I'm asking myself: Am I available to be trained (v.34) and equipped (v.32) and engaged in the battle as I ask God to defeat the enemies I face? Because it seems that He doesn't want to do it without us!

© 2011 by Ken Peters

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