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Careful What You Pray For


How to receive difficult answers with grace to grow in faith.


Early in my Christian walk, I can remember well-meaning Believers saying,  be careful what you pray for, when I prayed for more patience.  That was their light-hearted way of warning  preparing me that when you pray for more patience, the Lord will test your patience through circumstances and He did!  lol.

Careful What You Pray For - A Different Answer


As I've shared in numerous blog posts, I have battled anxiety for my entire life.  But that's okay...  Because the Lord used my anxiety to ultimately draw me to Himself, and to continue to keep me close to Him as I walk on this Pilgrim journey.  To read more about that journey please visit my post The Story God Wrote For Me - Anxiety Saved Me

The Lord has been merciful to me in that even though I still suffer with anxiety, there is an inner calm that wasn't there years before.  This calm might be barely detectable, depending on the circumstance, but nonetheless it is a vast improvement from the type of anxiety I used to suffer with.

As I shared last week in my post, That Moment I Wanted to Cry Uncle, ever since August, I have been revisited by health issues I haven't dealt with in decades!  And some new ones!  At the time I wrote that post, I truly felt I was in the midst of a full-on spiritual attack.

But then the Lord started speaking to my heart through several Streams in the Desert devotions that caused me to reassess the trials I currently find myself walking in...

Let me back up...

One of my biggest fears as a Christian is relinquishing control to the Lord.  I shared about That Moment I Finally Relinquished Control to the Lord here. 

The following is an excerpt from that post to add perspective...

As I began to back out of my driveway, on the way to the doctor, I relinquished all control to the Will of the Lord, and did so without hesitation.  I told Him that whatever the outcome of today's appointment was, I knew that in Christ Jesus, it would all work out in the end, whether high blood pressure, good report or bad report, the Lord God, my Heavenly Father, would not leave me or forsake me.  I would ALWAYS be in His protective care.

But there is something I didn't tell you...

While I was in the middle of writing that particular post, I actually received a phone call from that very doctor with test results that I never in a million years would have expected or even ever worried about.  In fact, I thought I had a better chance of getting hit by lightening!  It was quite upsetting and took me a few weeks to process.  I fretted.  I kicked and screamed.  (Well, I didn't really scream, but I was angry.) 

But why was I fretting or kicking and screaming?  Didn't I tell the Lord that "whatever the outcome of that appointment was, I knew that in Christ Jesus, it would all work out in the end.  Whether good report or bad report...  The Lord God, my Heavenly Father, would not leave me or forsake me.  I would ALWAYS be in His protective care."

Careful what you pray for!  The Lord took me at my word!

Of course I am being facetious when I say careful what you pray for.  I am not at all implying that we shouldn't pray, even in the examples I have given.  The point I am trying to make is that sometimes when we pray, we may be offering more lip service without intentionally doing so, believing in our hearts that we are praying sincerely, but then a different answer comes which exposes our weakness...

They were living to themselves; self with its hopes, and promises and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition, and had surrendered for it to be given them at any cost, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they had asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner and purifier of silver," until they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it to them it lacerated their hands.

They had asked they knew not what, nor how, but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions. They were hardly willing to follow Him so far, or to draw so nigh to Him. They had upon them an awe and fear, as Jacob at Bethel, or Eliphaz in the night visions, or as the apostles when they thought that they had seen a spirit, and knew not that it was Jesus. They could almost pray Him to depart from them, or to hide His awfulness. They found it easier to obey than to suffer, to do than to give up, to bear the cross than to hang upon it. But they cannot go back, for they have come too near the unseen cross, and its virtues have pierced too deeply within them. He is fulfilling to them His promise, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).

Streams in the Desert, October 17th


Careful What You Pray For - The Refiner's Fire



As I read the above devotion, I started to see that the sufferings I had been enduring, even those unrelated to that doctor's appointment where I relinquished control, were because the Lord took me at my word. He lit the refiner's fire to bring forth the precious silver of patience and the pure gold of increased faith.

When the suffering soul reaches a calm sweet carelessness, when it can inwardly smile at its own suffering, and does not even ask God to deliver it from suffering, then it has wrought its blessed ministry; then patience has its perfect work; then the crucifixion begins to weave itself into a crown.

It is in this state of the perfection of suffering that the Holy Spirit works many marvelous things in our souls. In such a condition, our whole being lies perfectly still under the hand of God; every faculty of the mind and will and heart are at last subdued; a quietness of eternity settles down into the whole being; the tongue grows still, and has but few words to say; it stops asking God questions; it stops crying, "Why hast thou forsaken me ?"

... for, let the circumstances be what they may, it seeks only for God and His will, and it feels assured that God is making everything in the universe, good or bad, past or present, work together for its good.

Oh, the blessedness of being absolutely conquered! of losing our own strength, and wisdom, and plans, and desires, and being where every atom of our nature is like placid Galilee under the omnipotent feet of our Jesus.
–Soul Food   

The great thing is to suffer without being. discouraged.
--Fenelon

 Streams in the Desert, September 10th

In total transparency, this suffering soul has not reached a calm, sweet carefree attitude that can inwardly smile at it's own suffering.  I am still discouraged in my suffering and still pray for deliverance.

But I am leaning and learning...

Leaning on the Lord and learning in the refiner's fire...

Careful What You Pray For - Trust without Borders


A few weeks ago, my husband discovered that a pond in our state had been stocked with trout. Not just any old trout, but brood stock brown trout with an average weight of 4 to 6 lbs.

The trout are raised in controlled environments and then released into fresh water ponds.   This particular pond, which is relatively small, as far as bodies of water go, was stocked with 400 of these large brown trout!

My husband and I loaded up the canoe and headed on down to Carbuncle Pond.  We didn't catch any of these monster fish because we weren't using the type of bait that they were accustomed to in the hatchery - powerbait.  We did get to see them jumping all around us, though, which was pretty neat actually, as they made quite a splash.

We found out a few days later that at least 100 of the 400 brown trout in Carbuncle Pond died; they assume it was because of the unseasonably warm weather as trout do best in deeper, cold water.   Those that died probably stayed in the shallower water where they were closer to people fishing from shore who were using their favorite - Powerbait.  If they didn't meet their demise due to the warmer water, they surely would on the end of a hook!

I realized over these past four months, I am no different than those fat brown trout that died.   I want to hang out in the warm shallow water and be spoon fed ease, to my Spiritual demise.

Fearfulness keeps me from swimming into the cold, unknown deep...

But there my Savior waits for me...

 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
Psalm 139:1-12

When a person is drowning, they are so busy kicking and flailing, they are not aware of their rescuer's arms trying to grab hold of them.

That was me...

Until I slowly stopped kicking and screaming did I hear the Lord speaking to me...  through prayer, devotions, blog posts, and dear friends.  All speaking the same Truth -  The Lord sees me, He is always with me,  He strengthens me, and His grace is ALWAYS sufficient for me.

Times of affliction can actually be times of rejoicing because we know the Lord is bringing about new growth.   We are receiving a promotion of sorts to the next level of faith and communion with Him, ultimately preparing us for that great day when we will meet Jesus face to face where there will be no more sickness and no more tears.

The following Bible verse was at the end of a dear, sweet friend's precious email to me this morning.  As you can see, the Lord is continuing to minister to me...   

Therefore we do  not lose heart.  
Even though our outward man is perishing, 
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, 
is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17


In the meantime, I will soak up His Love and Grace while He teaches me...

For more posts about prayer please checkout the following by clicking the titles:



May we pray without fear and...

if it is the Lord's will to bring about a difficult answer, may we receive it with the Grace that grows faith and the Love that brings peace.

 You might find me on these link-ups:

Grace & TruthWoman to Woman Ministries, Inspire Me MondayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Good Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog Hop  Tuesday Talk   Faith 'N Friends Sitting Among Friends   House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Literacy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceDance with Jesus Booknificent Thursdays  Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays , Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Sunday ThoughtsWriter Wednesday, Faith Filled Friday God Sized Dreams Link-Up Sitting Among Friends Be Thee Inspired Graceful Tuesday Link-up Aprons & Pearls Link-up Trekkingthru Link-up  Encouraging Word Wednesday  Grace Moments Link-up  Encouraging Hearts and Home Worth Beyond Rubies Seeking Sabbath Scripture and a Snapshot IHeart Verse Welcome Heart Kingdom Bloggers Outdoorsy Mommy Anchored Truth Tuesdays IHeart Verse InstaEncouragements

Comments

  1. Awww, I'm so sorry you've been suffering, Karen. May the Refiner continue to work with you and within you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      They have blessed me. :-)

      Delete
  2. Oh, dear friend! God is using you SO much right here in this season of difficulty and affliction! Streams in the Desert was one of my dear, Godly mother's favorite books. I still have her copy of it that my dear Papaw owned and had passed down to her. There is so much richness in that book. I am SO sorry you are going through so much, dear friend. I am so concerned for you and praying and believing God will see you through and heal you. Sending much love and many hugs to you! You are such a dear blessing to me.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl, What a treasured copy of Streams in the Desert you have! Such a family legacy of those who love the Lord with their whole heart, mind and strength.

      Thank you sweet friend. I'm a little concerned too. I appreciate your prayers so much!

      You are such a comfort and a blessing to me. I continue to lift you and your family up in prayer.

      Sending you love and gratitude,

      Delete
  3. it seems every other post I read has to do with health...so I am thinking if God uses our trials to mature us we all should be a bunch of mature believers.

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    1. Hi Betty, Indeed! I have noticed the same thing, and the Lord has been using those posts to minister to me.

      I think you might be right! :-)

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. Karen, I truly appreciated your vulnerability in this post. I could "feel" every raw emotion. Thank you for your transparency.
    I'll be praying for you as you journey forward. May God's peace and healing wash over you, head to toe.

    Blessed to be your neighbor at Sitting Among Friends. ;)

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    1. Hi Rachel, You are welcome.

      Thank you so much. It means so much to know that you are praying.

      Your visit has blessed me. :-)

      Delete
  5. Oh my! I love Streams in the Desert. That book keep me going in my own time in the desert! such good stuff! Thanks for reminding me of it. I need to locate my copy today!

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    1. Hi Karen, It is such a great devotional. I can't believe I only learned of it last year!

      I hope you found your copy. :-D

      Delete
  6. so sorry! I do hate a long wait! I do love it that you pack up and follow the big trout and that you learned from their sad demise! just read a helpful post on suffering on another link up - from a guest on sarah koontz - you may receive some comfort from it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sue, It isn't easy for sure.

      I have that very post from Sarah in my inbox waiting to read. Thanks for sharing. :-)

      And thank you so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. Dear Karen,
    Oh thank you for sharing from your heart such a sweet post. I love those devotionals from Streams in the Desert. I usually revisit that book every few years, and glean something new every time. I will surely keep you in my prayers, as I understand the trails of chronic illness. Our Lord uses all of these trials to refine us, and to bring us so much closer to Him! Blessings to you!

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    1. Hi Bettie, You are welcome. Yes, Streams in the Desert is so rich and I can see myself returning to it in the future.

      Thank you so much for your prayers. They mean so much, especially coming from someone who understands chronic illness.

      Indeed and Amen!

      Your visit has blessed me. :-)

      Delete
  8. May God in His great grace ease your heart even as He stretches and grows you into the wise and godly women He desires!

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    1. Helene, Thank you so much. Your prayer has ministered to me.

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  9. I have anxiety. I see where I'm not relinquishing control. Enjoyed what you've shared! Thank you for contributing to Literacy Musing Mondays.

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    1. Hi Tami, I'm learning more and more there are so many women just like us who suffer with anxiety.

      You are very welcome.

      Delete
  10. My dear Sister in the Lord, your post resonates with my own post and situation. You spoke my heart so clearly and have pointed me in the right direction to our LORD and Savior. Streams in the Desert has always blessed me. It's time to pull out that devotional again.

    Honestly, writing your post was God ordained - reading your post was confirmation of what He told me as I wrote my own post. Thank you so much for being vulnerable and writing such beauty!

    You will be in my prayers!

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    Replies
    1. Miaismine, Praising God with how He knit our hearts together through our individual posts and our individual situations. And praising God that you received clarity here.

      You are very welcome, and thank you so much for sharing your heart here.

      Delete
  11. Oh, Karen, I am so sorry for all that you have been dealing with. Your insight and wrestling with faith and trust ... it is so inspiring. Thank you for your transparency and walking us through much that many of us can relate to in terms of our thought processes and feelings amidst the difficult. You are a blessing!
    Hugs,
    Lori

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lori, Thank you for your kind words. Your comment here has blessed me so much.

      Blessings,

      Delete
  12. Oh Karen, I fight giving up control too and the anxiety of a live I can't micromanage (even when I try). Thank you for sharing this with me. You are a hero and your honesty is a big gulp of fresh air. Bless you.

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    1. Jamie, Thank you for sharing your heart here.

      You are very welcome.

      Your words have humbled and blessed me. :-)

      Blessings,

      Delete
  13. Wow, your post almost mirrors my words that I just spoke today with God. Whatever the outcome, let it be what it should be and correct, and whatever it is, I trust in you. It was not something that I thought I would ever hear, but then I'm sure others have heard it so I am not immune. I wait for results until I know if I am tested as Job and will lose my faith for what information I found out just today. As you say, before I had a closer relation with God, I think I would have fallen more apart. I am hoping for a false outcome, but only God knows. Sorry for what you've been experiencing, and I will pray that you get a False Positive. Your post and words were very helpful for what I am feeling right now, this day. Thank you.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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    1. Pea Bea, Thank you so much for sharing your heart here.

      Your situation seems to be mirroring mine as well. Joining with you in prayer that you have a false outcome and all will be well with your test results.

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

      Praising God that you found help here in a time of need.

      Blessings,

      Delete
  14. Thank you for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina

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