Into marvelous light I'm running out of darkness, out of shame
By the cross You are the Truth, You are the Life, You are the Way
(from "Marvelous Light")
This is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain:
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold, so refine me, Lord, through the flame
(from "Desert Song")
Tonight during worship we sang several songs (including those quoted above) that described God in terms of "light" and "fire." That's one of my favorite images of God; not only does He illuminate and bring clarity, but He also burns up the bad stuff and purifies us until there's nothing but good stuff left (or, at least we approach that goal more and more as we let Him refine us and root out the messy parts of our lives and personalities). Being purified is usually an uncomfortable process, but when it's over, the result is something much better than what existed before!
My pastor briefly mentioned during worship that we should praise God for answers to prayer even before we see them... the easy example of this is Jericho, where the people shouted victory before the walls fell down. And Pastor said that this way of thinking is totally counter to our way of thinking as human beings, which is true, but it got me thinking: if human beings have one way of seeing something, and God has another way, and they are opposite, which one is the valid way? God's way, of course! God's way is: (1) we ask, (2) we believe His statement that when we ask we will receive, and (3) we begin to celebrate the answer even though it's not here yet. It's like getting word that your Christmas present is on the way by mail. You know you're going to get what you wanted, so why not rejoice? Instead, our "natural" impulse is to wait until we have the answer in our hands before we rejoice. It's like Grandma telling you that that Christmas present is in the mail, and you choosing to be skeptical about whether she is telling you the truth or not. Looked at it that way, which is the truly "natural" attitude to have: the "human being" way, or the "God" way?
Maybe the reason we don't rejoice is because we think that we may not be asking within the parameters of God's will. To solve that problem, we have to get God's Word into our hearts. I'll be posting a short series about the Bible soon; it's so critical to living the life God wants for us that we dig into God's Word! If you don't know if what you're praying is God's will or not, check the Book (which is MUCH easier to do if you already have a good grasp of what it says in there!) and get sure. Then pray according to the Will of God, and REJOICE!