And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.” 1 John 5:14
It’s a song we often sing at funerals…but it’s also a good song to live by. The other day I was sitting around talking with some friends and we began sharing about some of our experiences. Before long we discovered that our friend had been in the military and spent some time in Germany…just like my wife and I. Before long, our sentences were punctuated with, “I remember…” and the room swelled with great times and great memories. I know from where I sit there are some incredible times where God just blessed. One of those times was my vision trip to work on the islands of Lake Victoria in Uganda.
This would be one mission trip that I would be taking all by myself. There was not a team and Judy was unable to go. It was me and God and I discovered that was good combination…a great combination. I remember (there’s our word) that I had asked the church family to really pray for me while I was gone. In fact, I gave them three specific things to pray for. First, I asked them to pray for my time in the boat. Because we were ministering on the islands, we would spend several hours a day in a small (about 25 feet) open boat. We would be cruising Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world. In fact, it was like a small sea. I sometimes have a tendency for motion sickness. Normally that is limited to going “round and round.” However, when it comes to waves and boats it can be “game on.”
My second prayer request was for an effective interpreter. When you speak with an interpreter, you say a few sentences then you pause, and he interprets what you said. Well, during my previous trips to another part of Uganda when I was teaching and preaching, my interpreter was very good. It was almost like he was an extension of me. I knew having a good interpreter would greatly impact the effectiveness of the trip. So I asked for prayer that God would send just the right man.
Finally, I asked my friends and family to pray that I wouldn’t wimp out. Now hang on–I’m not a newbie in the world of mission trips, but it was my first solo journey. There is a time to whine and a time not to whine. Is that in the book of Ecclesiastes? The bottom line is the time on any mission trip is too valuable to be a whiner. So, I needed to be flexible and remember this whole deal wasn’t about me but Him and them. There is saying for people who go on mission trips. It says, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break.” Amen, Lord, Amen.
So, for those of you who wonder if God answers prayer, the answer is, “He does.” When we pray for His will to be done and His purpose to be accomplished, hang on because those are prayers He loves to answer. To be direct and to the point—God answered the prayers of His kids clearly and specifically. First—no motion sickness. The lake was not calm–in fact one day we had whitecaps. Still—without a pill or a patch—I was totally free from motion sickness. That interpreter? God answered that prayer with a local pastor who was better than any other person I have worked with. He was so animated and led of the Lord—totally awesome. Last, wimping out? Well, those of you who know me best would probably have said, “Who is this guy?” One time when it was 10:00 pm and our supper had still not yet appeared, I almost whined but was able to stifle it. God was just incredibly good, and I came home with a full heart and a vision of how we could begin a ministry to the people who lived on the islands of Lake Victoria.
It is important to remember that God is not a genie with a magic lamp. God is not Santa Claus waiting to receive our wish list. God is not a vending machine where we put our quarter in and get what we want. God is God. And when we pray for His will to be done…amazing things can and do happen. John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, said, “And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.” That is not a statute of limitations but rather an invitation to join God in His work. Let’s join God in a conversation…not just when you are in trouble…but rather every day. You will find that He is waiting and willing to have a chat with you. Oh, and don’t be surprised, when He responds, “Don’t worry, I’ve got that.” Bro. Dewayne