More than meets the eye…

Admittedly, this post might be a little odd. I want to talk a little bit about two somewhat unrelated topics that are classified (in my book) under ‘more than meets the eye.’

The obvious topic would be Transformers, the 80s cartoon. Can I just say that I really love that show? Really. It’s great. I love the transforming (zwert zst zst zst). If I watch several episodes, I begin to observe the big vehicles on the road and wonder what they would look like if they transformed… Autobots (the good guys) work as a team, drawing together their talents and abilities to defend and protect what is good and right. They’re level-headed, light-hearted, and committed to their cause. Decepticons, namely Megatron, repeatedly underestimate the power within the Autobots. They think that standing up for justice and loving your neighbor is a weakness, when it’s actually a great strength. The disunity and dissension that breaks out from time to time among the Decepticons (perhaps most evident in Starscream) contributes to their demise. I appreciate some of the principles that are laid out in this cartoon and how the inner workings of good and evil play out in each episode.

I know I’ve posted on prayer before, but there’s something more I want to share about it now that I’m going through a Bible study on it. It’s been so insightful and there are plenty of quotes I could fill up this post with that I’ve thought, ‘wow, I need to keep coming back to that and let it really sink in…’ Some of us have a tough time with prayer, especially prayer that seems to go unanswered. What do we do with that? How should we respond as Christians who are supposed to have faith? Here are a few excerpts that have been meaningful for me, and I hope can be valuable for you:

“The purpose of prayer is to release the power of God to accomplish the purposes of God.” — Jennifer Kennedy Dean

“To pray is to let Jesus glorify His name in the midst of our needs.” — O. Hallesby, Prayer

“In the first place, it is not our prayers that move the Lord Jesus, but the Lord Jesus who moves us to pray.” — O. Hallesby, Prayer

“The content of all true prayer originates in the head of God.” — Paul Billheimer

“If Jesus dwells at the source of my life–if the flow of His life has replaced all of my life–then He can safely commit the praying to my will.” — E. M. Bounds, The Neccesity of Prayer

“At our first entrance into the school of waiting upon God, the heart is chiefly set upon the blessings which we wait for. God graciously uses our need and desire for help to educate us for something higher than we were thinking of. We were seeking gifts; He, the Giver, longs to give Himself and to satisfy the soul with His goodness.” –Andrew Murray, Waiting on God

“Rows of beautiful trees were laid low in a storm. Reason? The water was too near the surface; so the trees did not have to put their roots deep down to find water; hence the tragedy. God may deny us a surface answer in order to get us to put our roots deeper into eternal reality, so that in some future storm we shall be unmoved.” — E. Stanley Jones, Abundant Living

(I really appreciate that last one because the images are personally meaningful. Sometimes I want things to be beautiful on the outside and I fret when God permits storms to ‘uproot’ me. I worry what others are thinking about me and I wish I could still keep everything looking ‘under control.’ I ache for God to just fix me, but I sense along the way that He is allowing hardship to prepare me to be able to stand up in the face of some unforeseen task or situation that He’s got in store.)

So, in prayer, I’ve been recognizing on a new level that there’s more than meets the eye. God is orchestrating so much we don’t understand and cannot see. He invites us to join Him in this work, in part, through our prayers.

Oh, that prayer in our lives would be more than just our list of requests, praises, and thanks, but that it would truly be a relationship with Him and a transforming work from within that displays the great power of our Lord and Savior!

Exhortation gleaned from ‘Found Faithful’

A couple of days ago, I was looking for a few good biographies and came across ‘Found Faithful‘ by Elizabeth Skoglund. I remembered her name because a few years ago I read her book entitled ‘Bright Days, Dark Nights: With Charles Spurgeon in Triumph over Emotional Pain‘. Skoglund is a family counselor, so her work with psychology is evident, but she does not compromise Christian doctrine for the sake of psychology.

(FYI: the book discusses the life and work of F. B. Meyer, Amy Carmichael, Charles Spurgeon, Hudson Taylor, Geraldine Taylor, Isobel Kuhn, C. S. Lewis, and Ruth Bell Graham.)

Here are some treasures I’ve read from the introductory chapters thus far:

F. B. Meyer: “Selfishness, of every kind, in its activities, or its introspection, is a hurtful thing, and shuts out the help and love of God….The soul, occupied with its own griefs, and refusing to be comforted, becomes presently a Dead Sea, full of brine and salt, over which birds do not fly, and beside which no green thing grows. And thus we miss the very lesson God would teach us, His constant war is against the self-life, and every pain He inflicts is to lessen its hold on us.”

Andrew Murray:”First, He brought me here, it is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child. Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. Last, in His good time He can bring me out again– how and when He knows. Let me say I am here, By God’s appointment, In His keeping, Under His training, For His time.”

Hudson Taylor:”God’s work done in God’s way will receive God’s supply.”

Elizabeth Skoglund:”God was not asking me to feel patience, love, or forgiveness. He was asking me to act. I was to appropriate His love and then act in love. The feelings would follow later…”

Hudson Taylor:” All my life has been so fickle. Sometimes I could trust, sometimes I could not, but when I could not turst then I reckoned that God would be faithful.”