I've been thinking a lot lately about how God works within us...through circumstances, people, thoughts, events, to prepare us for what's ahead. Maybe that's what Paul meant when he wrote,
...God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 NLT
If that's true (and I believe it is), we can't take credit for anything...not even our praying and asking, not even our thoughts and desires. Let me illustrate.
Early last month, I had just returned from a three week vacation, when I had to jump right into the beginning of school with its teachers' meetings, preps, and first week of class. Then just as those preps and meetings were happening, I started getting sick. To make a long story short, three weeks later my health finally began to turn the corner. Needless to say, I was weak, under a pile of cleaning and laundry, when the Lord put a bizarre prayer in my heart,
Lord, make me spontaneously hospitable!
Now, why would I pray that? I know that prayer didn't originate with me. God Himself "set me up"! In the course of my illness and recovery, someone had stopped by unexpectedly. Later, I realized that I hadn't been as welcoming as I could have been. Thus, my prayer!
They say you should watch what you pray for. But my Bible says that it's the Holy Spirit that prays in and through us (Romans 8:26-29).
So you know what happened? That's right! Within days of that God-initiated and God-answered prayer, I got a phone call...right in the middle of my work week...with my house a wreck and with empty cupboards because of having been sick so long. The phone call was a request for overnight lodging from my cousin for the following night.
"Well, of course! We would be happy to have you!"
God Himself had made me more than willing. He enabled me to quickly pull my house together and even have nutritious food ready: chicken rice soup and vanilla cake with berries. And best of all, my husband John and I had a delightful visit with my cousin that evening as we listened to his adventures from his travels out West.
When all was said and done, I realized THAT WAS FOR THIS! That prayer was for this overnight visit...giving me the desire and the ability to "pull it off."
I have many other stories of that was for this. And maybe some of those will be for future blogs. But for now, let me give you some Scriptures. And then as you reflect on your own life, maybe you would like to share one of your that was for this situations. You can do so in the comment section. I would love to hear your stories as you give glory to the One Who is always working within us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:12-13).
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is [united] with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV
But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:21 ESV
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20 KJV
For from Him [as the Source] and through Him [as the Means] and to Him [as the Goal] are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36 NASB