The Challenge Behind the Asking

How many times have you asked God for something? Have you ever noticed how He answers? If you haven’t, I urge you to start noticing.

The more I pay attention, the more I “see” answers to my prayers. The closer I look, I notice connections that I didn’t see before and recognize answers… that come with challenges.

So, okay, consider a prayer that asks for direction. I have a very difficult time seeing direct answers, so I probably become quite a boor to God, asking Him the same things over and over. But, in the process, I also notice little pushes, small nudges that, if I recognize them, take me to new levels. Maybe someone suggests to me a course of action that I would never before have considered. Maybe it’s action that I totally DON’T want to take. But I often begin thinking about it, and, little by little, I start to come around. I believe that is the Spirit at work.

I believe it is a gift of the Spirit when we receive wisdom, understanding, and strength following our requests.  This is what makes further action possible.

Start taking note. When you make a request of God, I strongly suspect that your answer is likely to come, albeit possibly in portions – but along with something else. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself pushed from your comfort zone…into some kind of greater challenge.

Of course, I also believe that God has a sense of humor…..


How easy it is to judge others! We make “snap” judgments daily – about things like how a person dresses, how he or she speaks, or how “worthy” they are of our attention. What makes us so perfect? What makes us so qualified to judge?

Uncharitable as it may be to think such thoughts, how much worse is it to verbalize them? Once uttered aloud, it can’t be taken back. Once stated for others to hear, feelings are often hurt. We do not know the mind or heart of someone who did what we perceive as wrong. We do not know the harm our comment may cause. It is not our place to judge. WE were not appointed to separate the chaff from the grain!

Whatever our opinion is, whatever we think is our right to criticize…we should stop first and examine our own circumstances. Perhaps someone has thought the very same thing about us! What was in our heart then? What if we had heard the same words against ourselves? How would that make us feel?

“Do not judge lest you be judged.”

The Next Chapter

Have you ever felt as though your life is too static – where life is pretty much routine – no highs, no lows? I’m there. I really can’t complain. Life is really pretty good. But why do I feel like I’m in a rut? Why do I feel I need to be challenged? Why do I feel I need to be MORE?

I know many who have more troubles than I do these days. When I compare our situations, it doesn’t seem fair. (I suppose we never received a guarantee that life would be fair. ) I know folks whose financial livelihoods are threatened, whose family members have many needs, whose health issues are significant…the list goes on.

A certain bible verse comes to mind:  “And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (Luke 12:48)

I can’t help but feel I am among those to whom much has been given. So, the next question for me is where is that which is expected? Am I ready for it? I don’t know. But I strongly feel that there is more ahead, just waiting for me. Is there discomfort in not knowing? There certainly is. But there is also curiosity… what is next?

I think also of the gospel of the talents where we learn that it is good to increase those things we have been given. So, Lord…I’m looking. I’m listening. What do You want of me, Lord? Show me the right path. Show me Your way.

There’s Reward in Reaching Out

Recently, I wrote to a prisoner who (according to the person requesting the correspondence) had not heard from anyone other than ministers in twenty-plus years!

Quickly, the man wrote back. Interspersed throughout the letter were numerous references to loneliness.

I was already writing to a man who has been in prison over thirty years. During that time, family and friends have drifted. He, too, has been very lonely.

As an only child, I can relate to loneliness. So often, I remember asking my parents why I couldn’t have a brother or a sister! Fortunately, I have grown accustomed to being alone…but there is a difference between choosing to be alone, and being alone when you would rather not be.

I’m saddened when I think of men and women in prison whose family members drift away, and whose friendships cease. I hate when, all too often, there are no productive or rehabilitative activities for prisoners and all they have to do is exist, day after day after miserably long day.

The man whom I recently wrote told me he is in his 70’s and that his health seems to be good. He questions why? He wonders why he should go on?

I have a friend who is reaching out to another friend, whose wife is dying. She is not doing it to become a “significant other” in his life. She is doing it because she recognizes his loneliness and his need for support.

I believe that – wherever we are – it is possible to reach out and make a difference in the life of  someone around us. Yes, it is possible to get past that “poor me” attitude today, and reach out. I guarantee that, if you step out of the world that revolves only around you, you will feel better, and so will the person to whom you’re reaching out.