I have been negligent in keeping up with the intent of this blog, to "continue" through Yancey's prayer journal notebook. After just returning from a monumental two-week Heritage Tour to China with Paula and the girls and with so much to say about that, I am forcing myself to come back to topic and wrestle with the topic of prayer again. In China, I prayed, I mean some very intensive prayers, like when JaneGrace was lost for 45 minutes in a city the size of Los Angeles, but the topic today is wrestling with God in prayer.
We know from Scripture that Jacob wrestled through the night with the Lord in what is described as a literal physical match of epic proportions and it ended in an apparent standoff, even though Jacob would walk with a limp from then on. So, if I catch the implication, one could spend the night in fervent prayer, wrestling with the Father who says elsewhere he wants to give us the desires of our hearts, and end up feeling like he hasn't heard a word you've said. Or he just wants to wrestle; he doesn't want to talk. Either way, I end up feeling beaten up in the process and hobble into the next event.
So it has been with my most recent wrestling match with God. Some months ago, I was nominated to become an elder at our church in South Carolina. Prior to moving from Colorado, I'd been an elder before. (See Lookout Below!) The review process has been extensive, from a series of meetings on church doctrine, biblical qualifications, and church history, to an indepth introspection. It's within that "introspection" that I've been wrestling with God. God, more than anyone else, knows who I am, my faults, my errors, my selfishness, my sinfulness (I wonder how long I could keep going here). He knows that people have always viewed me as a leader, from kindergarten through the job where I retired as executive director. It would seem only natural that I accept this calling to become an elder at our newly-adopted home church.
Except for this: I've been asking God for six months to show me that he wants me to do this. Since I can think of hundreds of reasons not to, I've been waiting for him to drop the trump card and clear up the matter once and for all. Yesterday the pastor asked one last time if I were ready to accept the position, and so I asked God one more time. Show me this is what you want me to do!
So I re-read the self-assessment that I was supposed to have submitted a few months ago, a self-assessment designed to help me determine 1) if this was the right season in my life, 2) that I was clearly hearing God's call and 3) that I met the qualifications for leadership in the Bible. When I mulled over the answers I'd written a few months ago and weighed it against the Great Silence, I sent an answer to the pastor that I would not be moving forward with the process.
I woke up with no regrets but, "Ouch!" My hip sure is sore this morning.