When Praying for Something Costs You

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

I. Love. Cheese.

Passionately. Cheddar. Asiago. Parmesan. I’ve always lived by the mantra that cheese makes everything better. Especially when melted.

Until recently, that is. A surprise autoimmune diagnosis this summer after several weeks of not feeling well stole dairy from my life in one shocking moment of disbelief in a doctor’s office. I wish I could say that was all. Hopelessness began descending like a heavy weight as the doc ran down the list of things I couldn’t eat while we try to reset my digestive system so my immune system stops attacking me.

Essentially, I’m allowed to eat meat, fruits and vegetables. Oh, and nuts. The doc was kind enough to throw nuts back in the mix, removing them from the off-limits list after a glance at me. Apparently, he has a soft spot for women on the verge of tears.

I think perhaps we all go through times when life seems to throw one curveball after another. This has been one of those seasons. And dealing with loss, two cancer diagnoses, ministry challenges, and hurting children seems a little easier with comfort food.

I’ll admit I gave in momentarily to that inner dialog that occurs when something doesn’t seem fair. I already eat far better than my immediate family members. I exercise regularly. Logic says this shouldn’t be happening to someone who tries to take good care of her temple.

But suddenly I find myself in a place where God is requiring more. And when I first heard the news, I wasn’t sure I wanted to give it.

Who wants to give up cookies, brownies and ice cream? Or even mashed potatoes, for crying out loud? And let’s not forget the cheese.

But even before I met with God in prayer to begin to sort all this out, I knew. He was in this. This filtered into my life from His own hand. You see, I’ve been asking Him for something for several years. Something I prayed with bold faith and expectation. This broken vessel has been crying out to God to manifest the work of the cross in my life. I have repeatedly asked Him to empower me live the promise of Galatians 2:20.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The crucifixion of our flesh is something we like in theory but rarely care for practically. It’s one of those themes in scripture we often skirt around. We may have the guts to crucify things we view as big, obvious sin. But what about those things that don’t appear to us as sin at all? What about things that may even appear good to us but somehow hinder the race He’s called us to run (Hebrews 12:1)?

I have repeatedly asked Jesus to put to death every bit of my flesh that resists Him. I want His Spirit to reign over every part of me. And I believed my words as I proclaimed these desires to the Savior who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Until He began to show me how much I really resisted Him. Apparently, I didn’t mean the part that loves cheese and baked goods.

We humans tend to compartmentalize. We’ll readily give Jesus access to some places. But others we reserve for ourselves. We’ll give Him our service, but we guard our cravings. Some part of us believes we have a right to them. And we wrap it all up with the notion that our God of blessing wants us to be happy.

And He does. He just wants to be the source of that happiness. He wants us living bound to the notion of Psalm 16:11.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

God doesn’t want us seeking to find joy in His blessings. He wants us knowing He is the blessing.

God doesn’t want us seeking to find joy in His blessings. He wants us knowing He is the blessing. Click To Tweet

Sometimes surrender is easy. Sometimes we go kicking and screaming. But the question remains. Will we go?

Will we ask Him to take us to His very best for us and be willing to follow where He leads? Will we go even if no one else goes with us?

Even though my flesh at times resists Him, I’m thankful for a God who answers prayer. And even though the road is often hard and bumpy, He’s worth the trip.

The death of my flesh isn’t the only thing I’ve been asking God for. I’ve also been praying for wisdom and understanding of His Word that will break open the darkness binding much of the church and release His bride to shine brightly in the beauty of the cross.

Look at what link He just showed me again in scripture.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.… And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. Daniel 1:8, 20

God honored Daniel’s fast with wisdom and understanding that astounded the world. Only He knows how He’ll honor mine.

I’m not arguing with God anymore. Hopeful expectation has overshadowed that feeling of hopelessness. The King of Kings stands ready to move in my life as I willingly submit and trust Him with my future.

He won’t disappoint.

Oh, beloved. What are you willing to seek God for?

5 replies
  1. Gaye Ludwig
    Gaye Ludwig says:

    Thank you, Kelly for such an insightful devotion and so much to ponder and pray over. I also appreciate your honesty in the recent diagnosis. I always find it amazing that Daniel connected his food/drink discipline with obtaining wisdom and understanding. Is that not a huge life lesson for us? And thank you for the “hopeful expectation that overshadows hopelessness”. God bless your day!

    Reply
  2. Bimbola Lawore
    Bimbola Lawore says:

    Thank you for this Word in season! It’s a confirmation of the lessons from the Bible Study in my church yesterday. God bless you and strengthen you Kelly!

    Reply
  3. Jess
    Jess says:

    So timely. My husband was just diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and a diagnosis of crohns is on the table. We are learning to say “yes and amen” to every circumstance. To offer praise and thanksgiving, not necessarily to what we’ve been brought to, but to the knowledge that HE will bring us THROUGH it.
    Here’s to hoping that cravings of the flesh will be replaced greatly with cravings of the spirit!

    Reply

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