I found out today that I am somewhat of a “passive-prayer”, or what is more generally known as a “worrier”. Let me give you an example:
A few months ago my company decided to issue a mandatory furlough for all employees during the last week of July. This week long furlough was mandatory time off without pay. Due to the economic situation, they decided to take this approach to saving money as opposed to having another layoff. In effect, this furlough is basically a 2% yearly pay cut (1 week/52 weeks = 1.9%), or a 22% pay cut in the month of July (5 days / 23 total days in July = 21.7%). For most this news was alarming in the fact that despite getting a week off of work, you would be missing half of your paycheck come August 1st. This could mean in an extreme case that it could be tight on paying bills, or in a less extreme case that you have less spending/saving money that month. For us, it meant that we were going to have to plan ahead for a few months in order to ensure that we wouldn’t feel this mini-deficit as hard. I took it in stride at first, almost happy to receive a week off. Then as the weeks went on, I started to do calculations to see how difficult it could be for us making our mortgage payment in August. I trusted that God would provide during that week. And I believed that everything would be fine and turn out okay despite missing nearly 22% of our July income. I didn’t have a problem trusting in God on a grand scale about this, but I had some small doubts about paying all the bills on time and buying diapers and going to family nights at Chic-fil-a. So I started to say quick, small, prayers in the back of my mind. These prayers sounded like this:
“God, I know that you will provide for us. I know that you are in control…. But I don’t know what to do about this furlough thing. Thanks God. I love you.”
“Father, I love you….Thank you for giving me a job. I love you for that… What’s going to happen in July? Should I try to find some other form of income?”
“God, you are good. You are holy. Thank you for loving me. I trust in your provision… but, how is this furlough thing going to play out God? What will I do if I don’t pay my entire mortgage payment?”
I found out two weeks ago that the mandatory furlough was cancelled and we do not have to take a week of without pay. PTL!! (Praise the Lord, in txt language) I was relieved to find out my prayers were answered. I was talking with a friend this morning about this and how I’m happy that I’m not going to be missing out on a paycheck after all. I said that I hadn’t prayed aggressively about it because I knew that God would take care of us in some way. I had only prayed passively about it. And when I said I “prayed passively”, he said that I was just basically worrying about it and not actually praying at all. I paused for a moment. Hmmm…. He was right. I hadn’t prayed at all. God didn’t answer my prayers because I never really prayed. I just worried about it. I wasn’t depending on God, I was depending on myself and my checking account and my savings account and what the world could offer. I hadn’t depended on God and relied on God to provide, I was just worrying about it and passively praying about it. Interesting huh? You see, I don’t depend on God because I don’t have to. Why do I have to depend on God? I feel safe without depending on God. I feel safe when passively worrying. I feel safe when slightly offering up my anxiousness to Him. I feel safe with what the world can offer. That isn’t biblical at all. In contrast, the early church depended wholly on God because they had to…they didn’t have 401K’s, grocery stores, savings accounts, two vehicles for transportation, hospitals, brand new lawn mowers for their yards, refrigerators with ice machines in them, direct deposit, laptops with wifi, clean drinking water, neighborhood watch programs, freezers in the garage full of frozen meat. We have all that so we don’t have to depend on God, we depend on ourselves. We create ways to kick God out of the realm of our dependency. Who needs God when you got a BlackBerry and health insurance?
Don’t get me wrong. BlackBerries are all well and good. I have one. And it’s okay to have all that stuff listed above and more, it really is, as long as we are overflowing with thankfulness and gratitude – and overflowing with HUMILITY towards the gracious, loving, merciful Father of Lights, Glory, and Hope. And that humility should drive us to aggressively pray for dependence on Him and not ourselves, our house, our world, our society, or our miniscule checking accounts. And if something is hindering your dependence on him, get rid of it. We need to be overflowing with thankfulness and gratitude for everything that we have been given and entrusted with. Having thankfulness and gratitude promotes humility. And being humble promotes dependence on God. God shows grace to the humble.
Colossians 2:6 – “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Proverbs 3:33-34 “The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.”