I wanted to write and share about a personal example of the way God has, and continues to, lovingly lead and guide me, through the Holy Spirt, when I remove all limitations, expectations or any care for myself and simply respond to Him.
This situation came up a couple of years ago, just before our eldest daughter was about to start a series of laser treatments at the local hospital, to treat a large birthmark that is on the side of her face – to see if it would lighten, shrink or possibly disappear.
Before those treatments had begun, my wife and I had been talking about whether we’d want to pray about her birthmark and ask God to heal it.
Neither of us were sure what we felt, as rather than asking God for a specific outcome or to make a situation better we have preferred our prayers to be an expression of wanting to be with God in any situation and go through it with Him.
We decided to let it sit and find out what we felt, then couple of days later during church, I felt God encourage me that if I wanted to pray and ask Him to heal her birthmark, that He wanted me to ask.
It was quite a moving experience. It didn’t feel like God was directing me to pray for her, but that He was willing me to ask Him – if that was what I wanted to do – as a friend would encourage another friend to ask for help with something. It was a touching expression from God and I loved the way He was encouraging me to step out and express to Him whatever was on my heart, because of the intimacy and relationship that we have.
Even though I felt stirred, I hesitated to respond to what I was feeling then and there, as I felt that I’d prefer to pray for my daughter in private as a family after church, because that would feel a bit more comfortable and less vulnerable than sharing what I was feeling with others. But I felt God quickly respond and make it clear that He wanted me to do this with Him at church, with the people He’s placed around me, to be known for what was on my heart and share the fullness of that expression with other people, rather than minimising anything that I feel between Him and I, because of how it might look to others. I love that He made that so clear, as in wanting to control how and where I gave my response, I was making my fears of how I might look to others be more important than pursing something on my heart between God and I.
So in response to that, I shared what I was feeling and that I’d like to pray for my daughter with everyone there at church.
I knew that no matter how much I love my daughter, God, who created her, loves her even more and that I wanted to leave this situation in His hands
Then as everyone gathered around my family and I was about to pray, my perspective about what I wanted to pray about instantly flipped. I felt that asking God to remove or cure her birthmark wasn’t actually what I wanted, in terms of my relationship with God, even though He had freed me to ask and I had thought that this was what I wanted.
I felt like, as a father, I think I know what’s best for my family and what I would like for them – assuming it would be a better outcome for my daughter to not have the birthmark. But I wanted to be sure that it is what God has for her and is not just my perspective.
I knew that no matter how much I love my daughter, God, who created her, loves her even more and that I wanted to leave this situation in His hands, regardless of outcome, and I didn’t want to ask Him to remove or cure the birthmark. It also felt bigger than just the birthmark, as I felt I didn’t want to ask for God for any provision or outcome that would ever be a substitute for my complete faith and belief, unconditionally and in all aspects of my life.
So just as I was about to pray and ask God to heal her birthmark, my prayer changed. I thanked Him for the privilege of leaving everything in my life in His hands – of not assuming that I know what is best, but that I trust God and His Will for me and my family. And that I wanted to give back the offer that I could ask Him for anything, as the only thing that I want is for me and my family to live in relationship with, and glorify Him, in every aspect of my life.
I thanked Him for the privilege of leaving everything in my life in His hands – of not assuming that I know what is best, but that I trust God and His Will for me and my family.
It was quite a moving and life changing experience for me to go through. While I’d always known that relationship with God was more important to me than any outcome, I loved discovering the fullness of that expression – especially when there was a cost to pay or a chance I might not get the outcome I’d really like to have. But ultimately, what I got was far richer – the desire of my heart and the joy of living by faith.
I love too how my response that day is not limited to my children, or a birthmark, but that it flows into all parts of my life and how I want to live.
I am naturally someone who loves to feel comfortable, be liked, feel secure and be reassured, succeed and generally feel a sense of value and worth. But my love of God and desire to live by my heart does mean willingly and joyfully laying down all of the ways I want to look after myself or seek value outside of God, and simply live in His provision, faithfully trusting that His perspective and care is always far greater than mine could ever be.