The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,
In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths Straight.”
The problem had been brewing for some time. The Navigators had a publication to help supporters to pray for the various ministries. This publication however was produced not by those who had a concern for prayer, but for those who had a concern for communication. These people had long lived under the pressure of encouraging those in the ministry to send in prayer requests, and had eventually given up. They resorted to a very readable taster of what was going on in the various areas of ministry, but a minimum of prayer requests. The idea was that those who were interested to pray could use their imagination and work out some prayer requests from the text.
I was concerned, and believe the Lord had revealed to me that we were heading for a place of spiritual bankruptcy. That our prayer support was suffering, and that inevitably would mean that our ministry would suffer as well. I spent a considerable amount of time in prayer over this, but the outworking in my heart was, tied up with what I should do about it. I could see the objective ahead, and my tendency then was to drive towards it. I could in a sense see what I thought to be the straight path, because I could see the obvious direction.
Thankfully I was warned by my wife, who knows me well, that I was driving down a path of my own making. She was able to ask me if I was going with God, or getting on my charger to go and make it right for God. Later that day I was discussing these driving obsessions to achieve God's will with a fellow Christian. We realised that because the Lord promises to make our path straight we have a tendency to think that the path we see ahead of us is that straight path. The challenge however is to let go of my understanding of what that straight path is and walk with the Lord. As I go with him, then I can trust him that eventually when I look back I will see that the path I have walked out was indeed a straight path to the objective he has, though I would never have guessed it while I was walking down it.
So then, what was I to do with this revelation? It occurred to me that the very question was a demonstration of my feelings of self importance. Maybe the Lord had not shared his concerns with me in order to galvanise into doing something, but that we might pray together, and that through such prayer he might begin to act. This did not mean that action was wrong, but it would help if I did not muddy the water by getting on my high horse and riding forwards for 'victory'.
I began to pray differently. I began to see that the message on prayer (1 Timothy 2) that I had been wrestling with was more for me than others. I was able to set aside my prayer of combat where ‘I was right’ – as evidenced by God's revelation, and hence had all the answers, if only my 'adversary' would see it. Rather I prayed with thanksgiving for those who were responsible, and there found peace with the One God who is Lord of all, and seeks reconciliation with each of us. With this sense of peace, I was able to pray that we might receive the salvation and the knowledge of the truth which he so desired for all of us. After a little while, with no obvious connection a satisfactory way forward was found. Then a year or two later, I was made editor, and was able to change the emphasis back to prayer. God does His work in ways that we have great difficulty understanding, but He does do them!