A few years ago I had the most incredible experience with God. This is not to say he and I haven’t been in contact since–it’s just to say that this particular experience was “a few years ago”! Seriously. Can I please just tell my story?
I was just beginning in my commitment to follow God and truly embraced the promises. I read them, spoke them and meditated day in and day out over them. I believed that God would give me the desires of my heart. (snap of fingers…just like that!)
I had so much going on in my life at that time and patience was not my strongest suit. I had many needs and no peace. I was under the impression that my decision would bring immediate change and peace. A day came when I allowed myself to become angry that things seemed to be going worse for me since my big decision to trust God. I didn’t know that things become worse when we make the choice as a challenge to our decision and our faith.
At the time, all I knew was God himself was to blame for the hopelessness I was feeling about my life!
My habit had been to put my son to bed and afterward when the house was quiet spend time with God in prayer or just simply reading his word. On this night things would go differently. God owed me an explanation!
I sat in my favorite chair and began to try to manipulate God speaking to him words of thanksgiving and praise. That was just it: I was speaking words. He and I knew this was about to get ugly because I would not be able to keep this up. There was no sense faking my “holiness” which would have to be put aside. I had a lot to get off my chest. This night would be the night.
The conversation did, in fact, take a turn and tears began to flow. I stood in the middle of my floor yelling and stammering through my fit of carnality (as Jesse Duplantis would put it…). I blamed God for all that was going wrong in my life. I even accused him of being unfair to me in that he was requiring so much of me and I was seeing no return on my “being good” investment.
I fell to my knees. Like a strong-willed child I continued my rant going back further in my blame game and digging deeper for the things I most wanted him to know about how I thought he’d failed me.
While I had grown tired, I was not fully spent. My crying had worn me out. My words faded to a whisper but were said just the same. It was there in the middle of my floor in a prostrate* position that I slept.
The morning came. Such is the cycle. My weeping had endured for that night but it would be much later that my joy would come in the morning.
It was much later that I came to understand what had really happened that night. It was never about what I was saying. It had always been about how I was saying it. God had shifted my posture and through that action showed me something about who he is and who I am.
Remember, in the beginning I stood before God as though I was his equal with no fear, reverence or humility. As the night went on, I thought I had shifted to my knees of fatigue but know now that it was God’s hand that had gently pushed me into that position before him. He was still listening but he was also disciplining me. The prostrate position in which I awoke bore the greatest meaning. God had placed me in a submitted position, bowed and cast down. Humble.
I came to learn from that night that God listened to me. He heard everything I’d said from the words I’d spoken with my mouth to the truth that came from my heart. He had even heard the words of my tears. He was not angry with me. I had acknowledged through my actions that he was God and without him, nothing would be okay. He just wanted me to know that no matter how I was feeling, I had to know my place. I had to be in a right position to come before him. I learned I could not stand as I was not his equal nor could I kneel if it was going to be in rebellion. My position was to lie before him submitted to him and his way. I was not to accuse. I was to ask.
Whatever was going on with me at the time passed. I don’t recall any of the specifics. Apparently, things turned out alright.
What I remember with vivid surety is the lesson I learned that I am mindful of each time I’ve come before my God. That night was the night I learned something about how to pray when times get tough. (Num. 20:6; 2 Chron. 20:18; Matt. 26:39)