Monday, February 20, 2012

Holding Hopes with Open Hands

Do you ever find your heart at war with itself?

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You have a hope, a dream, a desire. You're sure it must be God-given, but you know you need to pray over it.

Somehow, hours...days...weeks...and sometimes beyond... you find that prayer still unspoken. The words won't form, the relinquishment of that dream to our Lord withheld because...

What if the answer is “no”?

I found myself in that place recently. It was a good dream, a sweet hope, nothing monumental... just an idea. And I still don't know the answer. No matter. That's not what I'm here to share about today.

I want to hold myself transparent before you. I battled to pray over it; fear tugged me back, curling my fingers ever-tighter around a dream that could very well be from Him. And if it is, how silly of me to clench my grip and refuse to hold it open before Him, to be guided, directed, embraced in it!

And yet, even though He already knew what was in my heart, it was difficult to speak it. Difficult to ask-- “is this your will?” --and actually open my ears and heart to receive His answer.

Sometimes, I'm like a child, coming to her father to ask permission for something and immediately plugging my ears and shutting my eyes so that I cannot hear the answer.

Sometimes, I'm like a bargain-hunter, bringing that lovely, tag-less find to the cash register, inquiring about the price, and staring blinkingly with a frozen smile on my face when the cashier utters a price I'm unwilling to acknowledge. I'll just stand here and wait until she says what I want to hear...

But sometimes, with much patience and grace from my Heavenly Father, he coaxes that white-knuckled grip open until I really am holding my hopes open, placing them in His hands, being gently led into a place of sincere listening. A place of obedience, even if the answer is “no.”

...and you know what? I've been there before, when the answer was "no," and the amazing thing is... he always gives reason to rejoice. To rejoice that His plan is better than anything I could contrive. To rejoice that He can soften my stubborn heart to hear and acknowledge his answer. To rejoice at the chance to trust Him in it, and look forward to seeing what he does with or instead of that hope.

“To obey is better than sacrifice,” the Bible says. And when he calls us somewhere, even when it's a change of direction for us, it's a beautiful thing.

Have you ever found yourself reluctant to surrender a hope? What helped you lay it before Him?


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