“Being off work for a few weeks, lately I’ve had a LOT of time to think. It’s hard to go from working to not working, especially when I’m not feeling well. I rest. A lot. I spend time in my own head. It can easily feel like too much being in my own head. It’s not unusual for me to let some time drift by, simply allowing my thoughts to go where they go. Frequently, though, I spend many minutes simply talking to God and listening for his voice. Reminders of my illness are never far away, and various ailments intrude on the quietness. Naturally, my prayers frequently veer into requests for healing or getting through a day of treatment or other cancer-related concerns.
When we pray for healing or deliverance or help from God, it’s easy to imagine how it will come about – or how we think it should come about, anyway. I’ve done this over and over when it comes to cancer and how God might preserve my life – this treatment, that treatment, surgery, no surgery, miracles, standard medical practices, and so on.
We human beings are experts at asking God to do something and then specifying how he should do it. We are control addicts.
Interacting with God in this controlling way causes untold stress in us, our relationships with God, and our relationships with one another. We become fixated on our problems and on solutions and how to make them happen. Trusting God gives way to strategizing how to get our way.
This is why I have been so struck by a verse of Scripture one of my friends sent to me. This verse has helped me stop trying to control God and instead pay attention to what he is doing along the way.
Let me set the verse up. It’s the great Exodus of the people from Egypt. They had scarcely left town when they saw the Egyptian army bearing down on them. Like I would, they looked at the situation in terror.
God, however, planned to deliver them. Maybe they could imagine some sort of deliverance, but no one – I mean NO one – imagined God would part the Red Sea, his people would walk through the middle of it, and then it would close upon the Egyptians, thereby ending any future threat from them. This completely-out-of-left-field deliverance strategy took everyone by surprise – everyone except God, that is.
Here’s what Psalm 77:19 says: “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters – a pathway no one knew was there!”
In my copious times of quietness, I have been over and over this verse many times. It has helped me let go of all the scenarios I put together in how I might live in the next stretch of time and even how God might heal me. It keeps my eyes on God, the great architect of pathways no one knew were there.
What are you praying about deliverance or healing from? Transform your prayers from “God, please do this, and here’s how I can see it happening” to “God, please do this, and I will look to you for a pathway no one knew was there.” See what happens. I predict more peace, less stress, and more of your attention being focused on God rather than your circumstances.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with me. I believe I will live and not die. But beyond that, I want to look to God and let him do things that take us all by surprise.”