Read: Exodus 16:1-15, Psalm 66:1-20, 1 Timothy 4:4-5
It was morning, but the cotton field was lost in the collection of water droplets that suspended the ground. The temperature outside was cool, not cold, and the new day fog was the blanket covering the ground. As I was walked the perimeter of the house, my thoughts were as foggy as the world around me. While I was praying for direction, my pink rain boots could barely see the path in front of me to walk on.
When we can't see where our prayers are going to lead us, praying is hard. Sometimes it seems like our prayers are not heard and will never be answered. We wonder what we are doing and who, really, are we talking to? We can't see what lies next on the path of our futures, but we want answers. Now. We grow impatient, frustrated, and doubt that God even hears us.
The Israelites felt this way when they were walking in the desert after defeating Pharaoh. They had witnessed amazing acts of God - the seven plagues, the Passover, and the parting of the Red Sea - but then they landed themselves in the Desert of Sin just one month after their exodus from Egypt grumpy, tired, and hungry. They couldn’t see what God had planned for them and wished to go back to slavery instead.
The Israelites forgot that God is a God who listens and answers prayers. After they had complained, He told Moses and Aaron:
God continues to listen and answer us, but we are like the Israelites and don’t understand what He has given to us today. We can get so focused on what we think we need that we can’t enjoy the goodness of what is right in front of us.
On Day One of our prayer challenge, we unpacked the first part of the definition of prayer which is to ask for help. But the second part of praying is to give God an expression of thanks. While God urges us to pray for things specifically, he also wants us to pray with praise for what we have already been given. Thankfulness allows us to appreciate the gifts we receive today.
As I was turning the corner from the back field, I paused by my neighbor's brick fence. I still couldn't see the cotton to my back or the road to my front, but I could see the first signs of life on the pear tree right next to me. Bright green leaves with a necklace of dew were vibrant against my gray surroundings. The pear tree was a gentle reminder of what it means to live for today.
When we can’t see the outcome of our prayers, we need to give God thanks for what we can see Him doing today. Because soon, the fog will rise and the road before us will be made clear. Daily, He gives us just what we need.
Join us tonight at 6:00 p.m. for our Undivided Women Launch Party at Covenant United Methodist Church. Invite your friends and learn more about this exciting new ministry for our community!