Yo Cliff!

YoCliff“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”- Psalm 57:2 (NIV)

“If God can bring blessing from the broken body of Jesus and glory from something that’s obscene as the cross, He can bring blessing from my problems and my pain and my unanswered prayer.”- Anne Graham Lotz

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”- Martin Luther

I never included one particular activity in my lesson plans during my elementary teaching career- the dreaded pop quiz. Well, there’s a first time for everything!  But don’t panic, this one-question quiz is child’s play.

  1. When Cliff (photo, left) and I (photo, right- with “stunt pilot” Ted in the middle) were elementary school age and I wanted to play with him, I would:

a.  waste valuable landline phone minutes calling someone living less than one hundred feet away

b.  string two empty soup cans together and toss one through Cliff’s open bedroom window

c.  get in some daily cardio, walk to his side door, and shout “Yo Cliff!”

There was no hesitancy in voicing my request for Cliff’s attention and companionship.  I was honest and to the point.  Jeff Manion writes in The Land Between that there is a fine line separating honesty and complaint.  God invites us to be honest, for honesty is fruitful and healing:

“The very act of voicing our trouble to God begins a conversation in which we have opened ourselves to his care, his mercy, and his provision.”

Rather than being a sign of spiritual deficiency, crying out may be seen as a sign of spiritual health.  We have great assurance God will answer our petitions, even though he previously has denied our desperate, heartfelt requests. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the habits of the heart we foster during our desert, transitional journey, will result in spiritual life transformation.  We can maintain the heart to pray.  Timothy Keller (Prayer) argues that in the end, there is no such thing as unanswered prayer:

“We know God will answer us when we call because one terrible day he did not answer Jesus when he called. . . . God treated Jesus as we deserve- he took our penalty- so that, when we believe in him, God can then treat us as Jesus deserved.”




About the author

Dave Henning

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