May 23: humble

After a week away totally devoted to scripture, prayer and reflection, it is a challenge to fit the rest of life into a day. The past two days the reading happened, but the reflection time did not. So, when I read today’s readings, one verse in particular called out to me.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

At the end of Solomon’s prayer, God answers. God answers prayer. There’s just one thing that God includes in the answer that makes me uncomfortable. God says, “if my people will humble themselves.” What’s that about?

If you asked God for direction and God provided that direction, would you take it? If God said, “Go”, would you Go.?If God said, “Go but I won’t tell you where until you get there” (which is what God said to Abraham), would you go? If God tells you what to do (God told Moses, a stutterer, to speak to Pharaoh), would you do it? Humble yourself. Give up control. God will answer, but expects us to go, to do, to accept the answer. How many answers have I received but I was not really listening for the answer because I was not ready – I was not humble enough to give up control so I could hear.

This weekend, we send a missionary to Africa. She has received an answer to a lifelong prayer. Many people have said that they admire her for her courage – something they could not imagine doing. But could we imagine being humble and giving up control so that when God gives us an answer we would, I would be ready to respond?

Humble, pray, seek, turn – that’s what God expects from me. Hear, forgive, heal – that’s what I can expect from God. I tend to lean more into the second half of this equation than the first. What if today, I focused on the first half – humble, pray, seek and turn. Give up the control and maybe that’s when real life begins.

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