There have been many times I make requests to our Father in Heaven. Often, they are because I feel under qualified or overwhelmed, pained or saddened, doubtful and undecided, or dealing with some kind of struggle…whether personal or involved with someone else. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a desperate situation, the kind where we’ve exhausted whatever was in our “toolbox of solutions”, and no resolution seems evident before us. It’s natural to ask God for help or request Him to “make it all better”–whether He takes the hard thing away, takes us away from the hard thing, or give us the thing (or answer) that we want or are looking for. Sometimes, we just want Him to solve the problem for us…and we’ll take that as our answer.

And so, in my struggle to *FIND* and *DEFINE* myself as I struggled some time ago with fear, with doubt, indecision and
inferiority….seemingly all at once, He impressed my mind with this:
——————

“I cannot give you courage. You must learn to face your fears yourself. But I will give you situations to learn courage. I’ll give you
difficult moments to face, moments that you fear (to face).

“And that’s the same with anything. I cannot
just give you love in your heart. I cannot just give you compassion, faith, forgiveness,
happiness.

“I can give you situations to prove yourself…so you can show me what you’ll do:
– when someone is crying or hurt…
– when a job needs to be done…
– when a difficult or terrifying moment is
before you…
– when you’ve been hurt or offended…
– when a joyous occasion invites you to join
them…
– when your heart has been broken…
– when a problem needs to be solved, and
you’re the only one there…
– when you can’t get out of a situation on your own, and only I can deliver you…
– when you have nothing left…but a call line to me.

“Instead of solving your problems, I can
encourage you, cheer you on, warn you, soften your heart, open your eyes, challenge you, lift you up when you’re feeling down, teach you, and even send someone to reach out to you.

“But you must *RECEIVE* what I give (whatever it is), and you must make use of it the best way that you can…and learn how to do it better.

“The seeds of faith, of love, compassion,
forgiveness, happiness, are already planted in you. You seek the fruit; you must first nurture and grow these seeds. And, given the time and appropriate moments, the fruit you seek will come. I can give you a taste of that fruit for the time being…but if you want these virtues for yourself, you must prove to me to be a gardener of these virtues planted within you. I can provide the challenges and experiences necessary for you to grow in these virtues…but you must learn to cultivate these virtues yourself.

“Resist the temptations–all that is fleshy,
carnal, selfish, thoughtless, careless,
temperamental–and prepare your heart that I may have a place for the answer therein.

“Follow and do the promptings that come to your mind and heart–NO MATTER THE
CONSEQUENCES, no matter how insignificant you might think it is. If it’s to do something good, do it.

“Give of yourself. Go out of your way to do it. For, at times, the answer is found not in
yourself…but in someone else. I can lead you there, but you must do the walking. And in giving, you open up your heart to receive.

“Be the kind of mountain that will stand
immovable against the storm….but will move when the Lord commands you. Faith moves mountains–and your faith is required to move the mountain of you.
——————

God loves us, but He does not live our life for us. He does not solve our problems for us. He does not grow for us. He does not, and will not, make us perfect in an instant…but we can be perfected in Him as we grow in His ways.

God is a God of responsibility. He is a God of action. He is one of personal accountability. He is a God that allows us to choose…and lets us experience the consequences of our actions…whether for good or ill. How else will we learn which to choose, how to choose, when to choose, how to accept and deal with consequences, or how to take responsibility for our actions? How will we grow in wisdom,
knowledge, or virtue if He always solves our
problems, fights all our fights, removes every obstacle, banishes every vice, and neutralizes every opposition?

How would we learn to talk to Him…and learn to love Him…if every request in prayer was granted immediately and in full, the way we wanted it, whenever we wanted it…every time?

We wouldn’t.

We wouldn’t take the time to talk to Him. We wouldn’t pour our hearts to him. We wouldn’t seek to come closer to Him. We’d never value His answering our prayer…because we never struggled for it, never sacrificed for it, never really thought about it. We just got what we wanted…and off we’d go….oblivious to Him…until the next time we wanted something again.

Struggles and challenges await us around every moment. Why? It’s a chance for us to prove ourselves to God…and a chance to come visit with Him when we find ourselves lacking. He knows we’ll need Him, but He wants us to look for Him. He wants to be with us…but He wants us to want to be with Him. He knows how to
help us, and waits patiently and lovingly to see if we’ll come to Him and invite Him to join us in our journey.

So, when you pray for an answer, are you
willing to receive it?
– Wholeheartedly?
– Unconditionally?
– Even if it wasn’t what you expected? In the
way you expected it to come?
– With faith–not doubting?
– With resolve to make use of it?
– And then give God the credit for helping you out?

Pray, and then Listen…from then on.
Every prayer is heard.
Every honest prayer is answered…
– in His way,
– in His time,
– in a manner that you will understand.
Receive the answer…completely.
And love Him for it.

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