I watched the movie "Moonstruck" some time back. The movie starred Nicholas Cage and Cher, and in one scene, Cage tells Cher, engaged to Cage's brother, "I love you," in a very dramatic way. She slaps him in the face and says, "Snap out of it!" It was a hilarious scene, a very funny movie, well acted, about an Italian-American family, everyone wants to control outcomes, nobody can, love just happens.
I wonder at times why doesn't say to me, "snap out of it." Often my meditations go the direction of "curious rationalization." On one hand, I'm curious as to why God doesn't seem to answer a prayer I feel is unselfish, but is a benefit to myself. And then on the other hand, I rationalize, He doesn't answer that because of my past performance, or my having not dealt with a personal issue.
I may meditate along these lines, "God why am I struggling with this, when do I realize Your abundance?" Then here comes the rationing, "don't be a dope, you're paying for your bad decisions." Or maybe I think, "God, I'm tired of working a different shift every week. I'm getting older, going from midnight to second shift, back to day-turns, is getting hard." Here's the thought, remember you're here still working like a younger man because you lived the way you wanted to for two decades, be thankful for the job! This is a great place for God to say, "SNAP OUT OF IT!" The past is forgiven, He wants to answer my petitions, I'm His son.
"So I tell to you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. Everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." Luke 11:9-10 NLT
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for what He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7 NLT
I ask, but too often my expectations of how I want the answer to come are not met. God answers, however, in a way I didn't expect, in a better way. He knows the end...from the beginning, and He knows how His answer will ultimately fulfill His purpose in me. I pray about having to work shift-work, and the answer comes in that He gives me the strength to perform on the job, and gives me the needed rest, as well as the motivation to get up and get there...even excited to get there. He doesn't have to say to me, "snap out of it." I'm ready to jump into it.
When my book was introduced last August, my expectation, rather, my hope was that it would be successful and sell well enough that I could continue to write, retire from my job, get more involved in recovery groups and at my church in their various ministries. My wife and I had thoughts of helping released prisoners in their transition to freedom, to stay free by helping them find jobs, and a place to live, so they would not return to old neighborhoods, find a new life. This is a much needed ministry.
We wanted the success to be a spring-board to greater things, and it still may. The main thing we asked for is that the book would help others....and it has. One woman told me it literally saved her life while in a rehab in Florida. That is success. I snapped out of it. God's way is better than mine. He knows I can't carry the weight of trying to constantly promote it without His help, He has the outcome covered.
If you are trying to shape your prayers to meet your expectations..."snap out of it." Let go, let God answer your prayer His way. Down the road, when you look back at how the prayer was answered, you will see He knew what was best.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!