My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Friday, June 12, 2009

unanswered prayers

Last night was night four of Vacation Bible School. It was an emotional night for me for various reasons, but the defining moment of the night for me was the final 20-minute segment (called the "Firefly Finale"). The roughly two-dozen children gathered around their respective crew-leaders and visualized putting the all the wrong things they've ever done in a big black trash bag each crew had. The crew-leaders placed the bags at the foot of a large cross, and one of the teachers, dressed as Jesus, came and carried the bags away as "Amazing Love" played in the background. When Kelly gave the children an opportunity to ask Jesus in their hearts immediately after that, at least four little ones raised their hands wanting to pray the prayer of salvation. We all had a time of worship in the altar while the crew-leaders finished praying with those who'd asked for prayer.

What struck me, however, was what happened just before all of this. I had gotten up to teach the kids a new song that talks about how God renews our strength when we wait on Him. Kelly and the crew-leaders had gone to a room in the back to pray about upcoming altar call, so I took a few minutes to introduce the song to the children and make sure they understood the concept of waiting on God (giving the adults time to pray). The Bible points we've learned so far this week have been: "God is with us," "God is powerful," "God does what He says He'll do," and "God gives us life." I opened by asking if any of the kids had ever prayed for something before. Immediately all of them raised their hands.

I followed by asking if any had ever prayed a prayer and nothing happened, and again, all of them raised their hands. I asked why they thought that was, and I'll admit that I was expecting a collection of blank faces and shoulder shrugs. To my surprise, however, one of the little girls to my left lifted her hand and, without a pause, said, "Maybe it's not the right time for God to do it, yet."

My eyes swam with tears as I praised her for her answer and went on to explain that we can trust God to give us strength to wait for His timing. All this time, however, my heart was crying, "Oh Jesus, no wonder you loved little children. They just understand."

I over-complicate things so much. God didn't answer because there's sin in your life. Or because you aren't asking what He wants. Or because He doesn't love you as much as _____. Or.... I don't take into account the fact that I strive daily to keep my heart free from hidden sins or that His Word says He loves me.

There was such a confidence in what my little friend said last night, though. There was no pause to check herself--no sense of, "I'm not good enough for Him to answer my prayers." She knew Jesus loves her and would answer her when she prayed to Him. If He didn't answer, all it could possibly mean was that He was waiting for a better time. It didn't mean she was forgotten, neglected...ignored.

What a blessing these little ones have been to me this week. I can't wait to see what happens tonight!

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