Isn't It Time?
The ill-fated AirAsia flight on the eve of this New Year—could it be the story of this civilization? Flying high and unperturbed . . . until stricken by a raging storm . . . and all the desperate maneuvers notwithstanding the innocent go down? Not unlike the brutal Paris terrorist attack Wednesday on the unsuspecting editorial team of the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo. Many recognize that resilient though this civilization is, there will come one day the crisis that will break its back. Not unlike the dark narrative of Jacob, cruising high through his life, the accoutrements of success obvious, until in one dark midnight the crisis strikes that breaks the man. And yet out of his shattering, the maimed patriarch is renamed the Prince who prevails with God and history is changed. The Great Controversy connects the dots from Jacob’s crisis to our generation in this urgent call: The season of distress and anguish before us [earth’s impending crisis] will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. . . . Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God. (621) In this dawning of the New Year I wonder—am I, are we like Jacob, cruising high and detecting the need of no major spiritual repair—after all, look at the successes we enjoy? How willing am I to go to the mat with God in a prayer that will not let go? Tuesday evening thirty or fourty of us gathered—some administrators, faculty and staff—to intercede for a colleague, a friend in desperate need. We noted the difference Melody Mason (in her new book Daring to Ask for More) describes between praying for (for our meals, our safety, our classes, our friends) and praying through (praying with persevering faith until our prayers are answered, until we experience victory, until God wins in that crisis, whatever it may be). These words from Great Controversy are clearly a call for you and me to move from praying for to praying through. “Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it.” That’s a hardly a threat. It simply exposes the need of our hearts to lock in rather than to keep flitting on. Especially in this year promising more crises unpredicted, unforeseen—Heaven urgently calls for us to join a generation that will prevail, persevere in prayer: pleading for lost friends or family members who must come to the Savior now, begging for courageous faith and a bold spirit to loosen our tongues in witness for Jesus, petitioning God to direct our career choices, to revive our schools, our marriages our churches. How can I pray that way? Why not print off this Great Controversy quotation, keep it by your place of worship and prayer, and join me in earnestly laying hold of His promises (e.g., Psalm 50:15, Zechariah 12:10, Matthew 18:19,20; Isaiah 43:19/44:3). Pray through until God answers. Need help? Join me in reading Melody Mason’s new book—it is already changing the way I pray (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Melody%20Mason%20Daring%20to%20Ask%20for%20More). Why wait until the next storm? Isn’t it time now?