When I was praying for help the other day, I launched into my regular litany of all the things that I felt were wrong with the world, with politics, my finances, and pretty much everyone who had not done things my way.
In the middle of my whining, which at the time sounded more like righteous indignation to me, I felt that sweet nudge of the Spirit. And the words “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” floated up to me. The verse is from Luke 24:5 and it is an angel speaking to the women who were weeping when they found the tomb empty on that morning long ago.
As I pressed into the words – why do I look for the living among the dead, I realized I was whining to the Lord about old stuff. Stuff that wasn’t mine to deal with. Behaviors, attitudes, situations that are not – eternal.
“What do you really want, beloved?” whispered the Lord.
“I want peace. I want assurance that everything is going to be ok. For our country. For my family.” I answered back.
“Peace and assurance can only be found with Me. Everything else is temporary. Only I am eternal.”
And somehow I understood. While I was praying for help, what I thought I wanted was for things to be different, to be ordered according to my priorities. But when we look at that which will pass away, change from day to day, those things are essentially dead. Life will change, it will be good or bad or boring but in the end, it is but a wisp of smoke. It doesn’t last. No matter how much we wish it would. That which is truly ALIVE is only found in Jesus Christ. Everything else is transitory.
I try so hard to get everything under control for even a few minutes. The house clean, everyone healthy, enough money for bills to be paid. And then the cat gets sick. Or the car needs brakes or a fire threatens the area. Or someone dies.
We can’t ever have it all under control. Ever. I wish I could. I wish I could stop everything for a moment and make it all ok and then freeze it there. Somehow I don’t think my family would be very happy frozen in one position forever. And I wouldn’t like that either. We have to keep moving. Life has to keep moving.
But there is one place that is perfectly still and peaceful – with Jesus. And I don’t mean when we are dead. But when we choose Him. To sit with Him. To turn to Him in the midst of the tumult. He is the center point. The eternal One and there with Him is where our peace can be found. When we are praying for help – what we are really praying for is a deeper knowledge of God. A deeper relationship with the One who has the answers. We want His perspective. His help. And the only way to get it is to sit with Him and allow His love to fill us.
When we are praying for help what we really want is God. Because He is Life itself.