Abide In Him
Are my prayers and confessions in vain?
“Why do I cry out and it seems like God does not hear?
Why do I pray when it seems like the God of heaven does not answer?
Why do I confess His promises, yet they do not manifest in my life?”
“Is God’s word untrue? Untrustworthy?” “Is my faith to small?” or “am I in sin?”
These are the questions that many of us have. They pose both a sense of longing and confusion in each of our hearts. A yearning to understand and receive His promises yet confused by the lack of fulfillment of the blessed proclaimed word. We pray, we stand, we claim and confess.. yet nothing. Or at least at times, we get nothing. Since we know that God is good, and all the promises are yes and Amen, then why do things happen that seem contradictory to what we have been praying, believing and confessing?
Over the years I have watched, witnessed and experienced myself, heartache and sorrow over prayers and proclamations that seemed to have gone unheard by a loving hearing Father. People that we think die before their time. Some get healed, while others don't. People who prosper while poverty strikes another. Raging fists pointed upward to the heavens, as tragedy strikes while claiming the word of God. Backslidden Christians, broken promises left unfulfilled. Dismay in the hearts of people led to believe that all of God’s promises are yes and amen. But what if, perhaps we’ve missed the mark? What if we’ve lacked a key that opens the door to answered prayer and settled hearts? What if we’ve prayed our desires and not God’s?
2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (italics mine). All the promises of God are not yes and amen as I have heard preached and misquoted (as I did above). Instead, all the promises of God IN HIM are yes, and IN HIM amen, to the glory of God through us. IN HIM is what is missing, and to His glory--not ours. That word in is the word en, which means in, by, with… a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e., a relation of rest. In Him is a position, a place of rest. And it is only in Jesus that we find rest--no matter the situation. And it is just as we surrender to His will for His glory that our hearts are settled.
So what is the key I was talking about? Jesus. Jesus is the key that opens the door to answered prayer and settled hearts. He is the key of David found in Isaiah 22:22 & Rev 3:7. And rest is a place of worship—intimate communication of healing restorative prayer where we dwell or abide in Jesus and His word, then wait for Him to personally and individually reveal His promise to us for our specific situation. We HEAR what He says to our circumstance. We WAIT for His word to be breathed into our hearts THEN we stand, and confess until it manifests! Or we surrender, not my will but thy will be done. This differs from us searching the scriptures for what we want to happen in our life or for how we want God to answer. Naming and claiming our desires doesn’t work no matter how many times we confess it. This doesn't mean, however, that we cease from memorizing or meditating in Scripture as these Christian disciplines have significant value in growing our faith and sowing seeds into our hearts. Any seed that we have sown, the Holy Spirit can breathe on, taking it from head knowledge to heart revelation. Nevertheless, the practice I am talking about is a more profound intimacy with the Father where we invite His direct counsel into the very situation that we are faced with--so we wait, and we listen. This also differs from us doing all the talking or from praying how we think God should answer.
One thing we forget, God is Sovereign.
Everything has its time--His time.
“To everything, there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
These are seasons established by God's Sovereignty. We can not control these 'times.' There are things in this life that we do not understand and are not for us to understand—only that it is God’s perfect will and His perfect time. One thing we must remember, God is good even if we don’t understand. Disappointment comes when our expectations go unmet. It is only His specific word to us that has the power to settle our hearts when we are faced with uncertainties. It is just in that place of rest, that place of prayer—intimate communication of healing restorative prayer where we dwell or abide in Jesus and His word that will give us peace and hope for any situation.
Hebrews 4 is a chapter in the Bible that reveals the promise of rest. Once we enter that place of rest (both as a child of God; our position and as one who humbles themselves under God’s counsel, that is, sitting and abiding in Him with Scriptures opened before us), we wait for Him to speak. We expect to hear a specific promise that God desires to fulfill in our lives for our particular situation. Once we understand His word towards us, then we mix it with our faith because “Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Do you see? Once we hear God’s word spoken in our hearts, then we have the faith or confidence for it to come to pass or for it to settle our anxieties. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). His word breathed on our hearts will give us the assurance of hope that is needed in times of distress. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples” (Italics mine; John 15:7-8). We abide or rest in Him first, then wait for His word to us to abide in us. His desire for our situation becomes our desire, and it will be done for us. All through the scriptures we see people who have an encounter with Jesus, face to face abiding in Him, and upon His word to them, directly and personally, they lock their faith with His word to them, and BAM…. they are healed, or they are set free. Other times they hear a word that is God's will for their lives, like Stephen, the martyr, and in peace, Stephen offers up his spirit. Only a word from Jesus could settle his heart when faced with death (see Acts 7:54-60). Jesus said in John 8:31, “…If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (again italics mine). We must abide in His word to know the truth about our situation THEN the truth shall make us free. I am a firm believer that God desires to speak specifically into our situations as a loving Father. Often we strive to perform or perfect His word and what we want into our lives instead of resting in His Presence to find out what He says.
Beloved, we are one spirit with Him. Spirit to spirit communication. I encourage you today, whatever situation you are in, or whatever battle you are facing or fighting, let God speak to your heart. Let Him communicate His specific word for your problem. If you are battling health issues, open up the scriptures to all the promises regarding life, health, and healing then ask the Father to speak into your situation. Pray that the Holy Spirit would quicken His word to you for the word of God says, "...they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His WORD and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions" (Psalm 107:19-20). Surrender to His will and the peace of God will sustain you.