Monday, August 24, 2009

Ya Just Gotta Laugh

Sometimes little crazy things happen, so crazy they are funny. This was one of those things for me, a ROTFL kind of thing, and I want to tell you about it.

I have a friend. (Yeah I know you're surprised.) She is one of those really good friends that will encourage you when you are right, tell you when you are wrong, and never stop loving you either way. She is smart and she is deep. We are just alike. (snicker snicker)

Really, I mean it. We chat online quite a bit and hardly a conversation byte whizzes through cyberspace but what one of us starts typing a thought and the other finishes it. We've thought surely we are twins separated at birth.

Now this deep friend and I talk about a lot of deep things and one of our topics lately has been prayer. We've covered it well-- everything from is it okay to tease with God to God knows what we are going to pray before we do and every other possible prayer topic in between. Oh, and we laugh a lot too. We often laugh a whole lot about really deep things.

One day this last week we were discussing some of the stressful and frustrating circumstance in our lives and how we should pray about them. I admitted to her that sometimes I just want to give up because life gets so complicated. I want to do everything just right and never make mistakes, but no matter how hard I try, I still mess up. I closed my little part of the conversation with this "prayer."

Dear Lord,
Send me an undertaker!
We ended our chat session and only a few minutes later my daughter knocked on my door, delivering the mail. On the top of the stack was a letter address to the Pflug Family, from--

Cox-LaGrone Funeral Home!
I live to testify: God knows what we are going to pray before we do, and He has a sense of humor! God is good!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Socially Unacceptable Prayers

I've been away from my blog WAY too long. I wonder--do I have any readers left? If so, thanks for hanging around and please bring a few of your friends over. I love meeting new people!

I think it is time for a word for the day and today it is--

  1. Filled with confusion or bewilderment; puzzled.
  2. Full of complications or difficulty; involved.

Boy, if that doesn't describe me right now I don't know what does. I'm hoping you, all my precious readers, will chime in on this one and let me know your thoughts and opinions, because my situation, I've discovered, is a ticklish topic that deserves discussion.

Let me set the stage. Most of my faithful readers know that my husband is an independent catastrophic insurance adjuster. (The independent part means he works and gets paid only when his company calls on him, and the rest of the time he is unemployed.) If you are new to my blog--well--now you know too. At the end of May, Rick signed himself out because he was suffering from burn-out, needed to have some major dental work done, and had to have cataract surgery. (It has been a costly summer as we are some of those uninsured Americans--targets of liberal government control. But that's another post for another time.) Now my man can chew his steak, sees better than before, is rested and ready to go back to work. Only one problem--no work to be had.

After two and a half months of no income and major expenses, we need money. There are only a few methods of financial acquisition. You can be gifted it, steal it, borrow it, inherit it, or earn it. Our society frowns upon beggars so I'm not expecting a gift, society and heaven frown upon stealing so that's not an option, borrowing when you have no income to pay back is just stupid, we don't have wealthy relatives, and if we did, certainly we would not want them to die just so we can pay the mortgage, so we choose to work for the money that we need. And our work depends upon--I flinch and squirm--storms. I put my faith in God, (El-Shaddai, the God who is sufficient for the needs of His people & Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our provider) therefore I am praying for a storm.

Yes, you read that right--I'm asking God to provide a storm so my husband will have an opportunity to do what he does best, and then we can pay our bills like upstanding citizens should do. I've even asked some of my friends and family to agree with me in prayer. Responses have been varied, but all have come with hesitation. Here are a few.
  • How about if I pray that God just bless you?
  • I'll pray that if there is a storm, you will benefit from it.
  • I'll ask God to give you work.
  • (Deer-in-the-headlight stares but no words.)

I've discovered that it is not always socially acceptable to pray specifically for what you need. But pray specifically I feel I must! God has, and continues to bless us beyond words. A Christian heritage, wonderful healthy children and grandchildren, a free country in which to live, good health, a sound mind, a good marriage...even some very beneficial rain on our tiny plot of land are just some of the ways in which He has blessed us. Yes, we always ask for God's blessings though we are already so richly blessed, but those blessing won't pay the doctors or the electric bill. My precious friend that offered to pray that if there are storms we might benefit was thoughtful and meant well. But, we could find ourselves in the middle of foreclosure if there are no storms. What about the generic prayer for work? We have plenty of work. Remember all the rain that came as a blessing? It has made mowing our 1.5 acre plot an almost full-time job. And the mud and grass that hubby tracks into the RV keeps me sweeping up between washing his dirty clothes. Weed pulling, trim painting, bush trimming...there is plenty of work around our house to keep us busy, but that work does not produce income.

My prayer request perplexes my friends and honestly sometimes even myself. People have a hard time asking God for something they see as negative or "not good." Nobody wants to be known as the person who prays evil or disaster into the lives of others. Not even me! So I am especially and personally perplexed because what seems good for me might seem not good for someone else. (I think I know how the tax collectors might have felt during the first century.)

I find a little comfort in the realization that we are not the only people that benefit from another person's misfortune. Doctors need people to get sick. A dentist and an eye surgeon profited greatly because my husband is plagued with rotten teeth and cataracts. The guy that owns the local tire shop needs folks to have a blowout ever now and then. Your mechanic needs your car to break down, police officers, lawyers, and judges have jobs because of unlawful deeds done to law abiding citizens, and guidance counselors, psychologists & therapists all profit when someone else has a problem. Even evangelists and preachers have jobs because lost sinners have yet to find salvation through Christ. Have you ever wondered if your doctor prays that one of his patients break a leg? I dare you to ask him the next time you are in for a check up.

Insurance adjusters are not the only people that profit from storms or wildfires or other disasters. Roofers, tree trimmers, contractors, painters, landscapers, electricians and linemen, shingle and siding manufacturers, trash companies,...(I could go on and on.)

Even the people whose homes are damaged and lives are disrupted sometimes reap a harvest. Life's trials give opportunity to seek God, place priorities, comfort and be comforted, gain strength and character, learn something new and grow faith. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trial, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1: 2-4) Could it be, that if I pray for a storm, rather than praying evil into someone's life I might actually be praying for the maturity and perfection of their faith?

I've given this a lot of thought. I know God cares about the tiny details of our lives, so I know it is okay to pray specifically for what we need. I know I feel encouraged and comforted when my brothers and sisters in Christ pray for us. I know I can't stand the look on their faces or the hesitation in their voices when tell them I'm praying for a storm and I ask them to pray for one too. I know that none of us have the mind of God and what seems good to us is not always good and what seems bad is not always bad. I know our bank balance is nearing the "E" mark and God needs to move on our behalf soon. And I know I want to hear what you have to say about my perplexing situation. Do I continue to pray my socially unacceptable prayers or do I lift up a less offensive version? If you were in my place, how would you pray?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This is a test

This is just a test. No beeps or bleeps, no important message, just a test.

I'm trying out a new tool for posting to my blog and I want to see if it works. So here goes. Click on the publish button and see what happens.