Hindered Prayers or Answered Prayers?

I should be watching the Auburn game. It’s on the TV, but I just can’t get into it because I’m the only one watching it in this house. Lily decided an early nap was what she needed today, so she laid down at 11 instead of 2. That’s probably a good thing because we have a play date this afternoon during her normal nap time. Brent went into the office for a little while this morning and is going to watch the rest of the Auburn game and the Alabama game with “the guys”.

Anyway, before Lily fell asleep and Brent left for work, I faced one of my fears.

My question this week has been this:  are we facing this trial (Brent’s new, but slow going, career for those of you new to this) because of some area of sin/disobedience in our lives or because it’s simply what is good for us?

When you pray for something for so long and your circumstances are much less than what you hoped for or expected, you begin to wonder what you are doing wrong. Or at least I do. Maybe I’m the only one with this problem. But you begin to wonder what could be hindering your prayers, or are they really even hindered? Maybe they aren’t hindered and prayers are being answered in the way that God wants them to be answered.
Either way, it’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about this week.

When we suffer/struggle it’s either because of 1) sin in our life, or 2) the simple fact that it’s somehow what’s best for us and will bring good to us and glory to God. I don’t mind suffering for #2 because there is a peace in that kind of suffering…knowing that for now it’s what is best, it’s good, and there ain’t a thing I can do about it. But suffering for #1…that’s a different story. I can do something about that. I certainly don’t want the progress of Brent’s career to depend on a sin in either one of our lives. So this week we’ve been praying for God to search our hearts and see if there be any wicked way in us.

The result: Brent felt like there was something he needed to do and had not done. I, on the other hand, couldn’t get the neighbors off my mind. And if you put those two things together it equals this = building a relationship with our neighbors is something we need to do and have not done.

Other than that, we could not think of any other areas of disobedience. So, the only way to answer my previous question is to do something about the neighbors.

I went to Publix yesterday. Lily LOVES to drive the shopping cart. I bought 6 bags of goldfish, a bundle of cilantro, and a box of brownie mix. Thankfully those 3 items were not used together! The goldfish were on sale for $1 each and I needed the cilantro for a recipe. The brownies were for the neighbors.

I hesitated to buy and even make the brownies because I knew that I would be committed to facing one of my fears if those brownies made it to my house and baked in my oven. But I’m SO tired of the lies that Satan puts in my head and I’m DONE with him tempting me to be timid about talking to my neighbors! It’s irritating how he can take an otherwise normal conversation with the neighbors and convince me that it will not go well because I will be mauled by their pit bulls or something else completely irrational.

Another reason I wanted to go is because I want Lily to grow up in a gospel-centered home that makes opportunities to share Christ’s love with others. Though she will most likely not remember this small event in her life, I have to start somewhere and I have to be intentional about raising her to love God and love people. It’s not just gonna happen. She has to SEE it in her own parents.

At 10 this morning, the 3 of us walked over there and rang the doorbell. What seemed like an eternity later the mom answered the door. I prayed that she would open the door. There was also a little girl around Lily’s age that was standing there with her…instant ice breaker because Lily immediately had someone to play with (too bad she isn’t always there). She of course got down on the floor and made herself at home. I asked the mom how her husband was doing (he’d been really sick back in May and had been out of work since January). He is doing better and has been back at work for 2 weeks now. I handed her the brownies complete with a Bible verse written on the foil they were wrapped in and invited her to come to church with us tomorrow. She said she would talk to her husband.

I don’t think they will come. They didn’t come at Easter when we asked. However, God is able to do abundantly more than we ask or imagine. I think I would fall on my knees and cry hysterically if I saw them walk into our sanctuary tomorrow. Then I would probably run over and give them the biggest hug ever. Wouldn’t that make a scene?

I’m glad the brownies made it in and out of my house. Praying that we find more ideas and opportunities to build a relationship with our neighbors.

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