“You did not choose me, but I chose you.”- John 15:16
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”- John 6:44
“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.- C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair
In Chapter 7 (“Removing One More Obstacle”) of Moving Mountains, John Eldredge takes issue with a famous religious expression he believes packages a reverent humility in a memorable cliché- “Prayer moves the hand of God.” Noting that the entire story of God toward us begins with God making the first move in Creation, Mr. Eldredge states the expression reflects a heinous view of God and a heinous view of prayer.
Therefore, when prayer seemingly is not heard, Christians who believe the cliché can easily conclude that (a) I must not be asking the right way; (b) God doesn’t care to move regardless of how earnestly I pray; or (c) it isn’t God’s will to help me.
Yes, yes, yes, John states, there are times God does seem to wait until we ask. Perhaps He is waiting for us to exhaust our own resources- or we have vital lessons to learn. The author adds a third reason: “There is also the beauty of humility that he is cultivating in the human heart; it takes humility to ask.”
John points out that God is not a reluctant participant in your life, willing to act only when He gets tired of hearing the sound of your voice. George MacDonald writes in Unspoken Sermons:
“It is a comfort [Jesus] recognizes difficulty in the matter- sees that we need encouragement to go on praying, that it looks as if we were not heard, that it is no wonder we should be ready to faint and leave off. . . . Here as elsewhere he teaches us that we must not go by the look of things, but by the reality behind the look. . . God hears at once, and will avenge speedily.”
Today’s question: How can Jesus’ words “I chose you” help remove obstacles to prayer? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The act of consecration”