Out or Through

Girl reading the Bible in the library cafe.

 

Sometimes we need to pray “get me out” prayers. But sometimes we need to pray “get me through” prayers. And we need the discernment to know when to pray what. ~ Mark Batterson

Bill Welte has challenged our staff and ministry friends to read Mark Batterson’s book “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge.”  The quote above struck me very early in the book. Our natural inclination when faced with a difficulty is to ask for God to remove it or get us out of the situation. Whether it be an illness, a financial burden, a relational difficulty – you name, we want out of it.

But I find, more often than not, God doesn’t remove the difficulty or remove us from the situation. Rather, He uses it to continue the process of molding us to be more like Him – to teach us, to sand off our rough edges, to remove the dross from our lives so the silver can shine through. But He never abandons us in these tough times.  He’s not one to throw us in the deep end to force us to learn to swim. No, whatever the burden, whatever the difficult circumstance – He is right there with us, walking beside us. Sometimes holding a hand, sometimes picking us up and carrying us, sometimes just giving the word of encouragement we need to keep going.

“Get me out” brings instant relief, but doesn’t really benefit us in the long term. Nothing is learned, nothing is gained, in simply having the difficulty removed.

Paul the apostle experienced this himself. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 he says, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

If God chose to allow Paul to remain “in” the circumstance, why should I experience less? I have so much more to gain by walking “through” with Him.

So, how are you praying today? Get me out…or get me through?

Ruth Schmidt

Ruth Schmidt has worked at America’s Keswick since 1985. She currently serves as Administrative Assistant to Bill Welte.

 

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