When Asking Why Doesn’t Really Matter
An Actual Thirty-Thousand-Foot Prayer – Part 1
So you’ve prayed and nothing’s happened. You’ve prayed night and day with no signs of an answer. The Heavens haven’t opened up, neither has God come down to give you some hope. You’ve not seen any signs to indicate whether this was just a dream or your imagination. The problem is real and ever present. This is normal and this was Nehemiah’s experience. Hear how Nehemiah speaks to God.
Regardless of What We’ve Done or Not Done, We Want God’s Help
Israel is Your chosen people and it’s true they’ve sinned against You, but You made a promise to them. Forget the fact that they’ve not done right by you. Just help me with my problem. Lord, we’ve not done the right things so what? Can we get a break? Can we just have what we want from You anyway?
- God will you listen to me?
“Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!” – bible.com/116/neh.1.5-6.nlt.
Nehemiah asks God to listen to his prayer. Isn’t this what we normally do? We want God to listen to us when we’re in a problem and want God to disregard all that we’ve done to warrant God’s ear. Nehemiah says God look at me, I’ve been praying about this situation day and night. I’ve done what I think is the church-thing to do. I’m praying. I’m praying in every way I know how to pray. I’m praying in and out of tongues on this one. It’s all I think about and it’s consumed my life; listen to me!
It’s obvious that nothing has happened. You’d never have to pray day and night if your situation was instantly resolved. In fact, it will be a while before Nehemiah hears a response from God because this is how a “normal” thirty-thousand-foot prayer works. When you try to do something with common tactics that’s not a common practice, it won’t work. Watch what Nehemiah does next and you’ve seen this done and perhaps have done the same a time or two.
We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. Now I could camp here for a moment, but I won’t. I’ll simply ask this question. Why did Nehemiah wait until the problem arose to try and repent for his sins and the sins of his people? [To the left.] It’s just like normal people to try and do right when they need God’s help. You’re not trying to be right, you only want to make an exchange so that you can get what you want from God. I’ll change my ways (for now) if it will get God to hear and answer my prayer. I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. Let me continue.
- He’s Not Hearing Me
“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’” – bible.com/116/neh.1.7-9.nlt
Since my prayer isn’t working let me remind God of some things as if He doesn’t know. Nehemiah in his thirty-thousand-foot prayer attempts to remind God of His promise to Moses. Let me refer God back to someone who had results with God. Let me place the attention on someone more important than me so that God might do something with my problem. Because my futile attempts aren’t working to get me the results I want.
When all else fails, let me tell God about Himself, as if I know who and what God is. A normal thirty-thousand-foot prayer will always be positioned with us asking God to do something and never asking God what we might do ourselves in the situation.
Let me pause here since we mentioned Moses. When Moses and the people of Israel faced the Red Sea, trapped from the other side by Pharaoh’s army, God didn’t just part the sea. He had Moses do something with the very thing he’s had with him all along. What makes us think that God is going to leave us out of doing anything with our thirty-thousand-foot prayer? (More on that later.) Under normal conditions we want it to be God’s problem and not ours. We don’t take into consideration that it’s God who’s brought this situation to us. Remember it was God who made certain Pharaoh’s heart remained hard towards the people of Israel. Let’s continue.
Even if you know “why,” what would it change?
I’ve given much thought to a normal challenge people have. They always want to know why. Why? What difference would it make if you knew why? Would it remove the challenge? Would it change or alter the circumstances? No. I get it that this is normal, but I master in finding out what’s not normal. What isn’t normal is this next thought I have.
- Regardless of what we might think, God knows best.
A few years ago, Pamela and I faced a thirty-thousand-foot prayer request. Pamela’s 1st cousin, my cousin-by-law, Americus was diagnosed with cancer. Three years prior to her passing (July 19, 2012), God asked me to do something I’d never done before. He asked me to call Americus every morning. Not knowing it then, this was prior to her diagnosis of cancer. I asked God, “why” me? Why do I have to call anyone every morning? Why is this my burden? We bargained a bit and finally settled on me calling Americus as a part of my daily work routine. While I asked “why” about my involvement in her life, she was asking why did this “thirty-thousand-foot-prayer” problem happen to her? So each workday morning at 7:10 she received a call from me to pray with her. I did this whether I wanted to or not and whether she wanted me to or not, without fail. After her passing, I received the answer to Americus’s question, “why did this happen to me?” He (God) knows best. He was looking into her future battle with cancer and beyond, just as He is looking into yours. Why? He knows best.
You would do anything to get a thirty-thousand-foot problem to go away. You’d challenge God. You’d, like most, repent and promise to never again do wrong to get Him to move on your behalf. But the one thing a normal person is sure to do is ask the most irrelevant questions of all, why. When a thirty-thousand-foot problem makes its way to you, the last thing that will ever matter is why even though we ask. But since we need some reassurance, the reason why is simply this, God knows best. Now what will you do with that?
Question: What problem are you facing that you’ve been asking yourself the irrelevant question of why? [make statement font blue]
Leave a comment below; you never know who it’ll help.
I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t I continue and why is this web-post over so soon? I’m glad you feel this way, that means you’ll come back next week for me. I do have much more in store. Until then, share this with someone who’s facing a thirty-thousand-foot situation. Thanks for visiting NoLongerCommon.com.