You May Want to Dig That Hole a Little Deeper

by Andy Wood on March 11, 2009

in Consumers, Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Principle of Abundance

diggingI heard a funny story recently about a lady with certain-colored hair, who was in a desperate financial condition.  The details are a little hazy, but here goes:

She knelt down beside her bed and prayed, “Oh God, please help me win the lottery.  If I don’t win the lottery, they’re coming to cut my power off.”  She didn’t win the lottery, and her power was cut off.  She prayed again to win the lottery to avoid losing her car.  She didn’t win the lottery, and her car was repossessed.  A third time she prayed to win the lottery.  This time, the bank foreclosed on her house.  She prayed again, frustrated and angry.  “If this is how you treat your children, I’ll never pray again.”

About that time, there was a knock at the door.  She opened it to find a stranger.  “I have a message from the Lord,” the stranger said.  “Would you PLEASE buy a ticket”?

We serve a God who is capable of doing “far more abundantly above all we could ever ask or think” (Ephesians 3:30).  But He insists that somehow we get involved in the process.

Two Candidates for a Miracle

This is illustrated in back-to-back stories in 2 Kings 3-4.  Two different people summoned the prophet Elisha.  The first was the king of Israel, whose army was dehydrated and facing sure defeat.  The second was the widow of a prophet, who was facing the loss of her sons to slavery to pay off her creditor.

Elisha advised similar things.  To the king of Israel, he said, “Make this valley full of ditches.  You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water.”  To the widow, he said, “Go ask all your neighbors for empty jars.  Don’t ask for just a few.  Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

How much water did the armies of Israel and Judah receive?  As much as the ditches would contain.

How much oil did the widow supernaturally receive?  As much as she had collected jars to hold.

God has his part; we have ours.  But God won’t fill what our faith hasn’t prepared.

Horses, Battles, and Blind Guys

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle,” Proverbs says, “But victory belongs to the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31).  Another reminder to be faithful to do your part, but to trust God completely to do his part.  Your only responsibility is to see to it that the “horse” is prepared for the day of battle.  Yes, that means being faithful to plan, to prepare, to execute. God takes care of the results.

In that regard, you can fall into two ditches.  First, you can fail to prepare the “horse,” whatever the “horse” may represent.  Through negligence, laziness, or trivial pursuit, it’s possible to arrive at the day of battle with an unprepared horse.

The other mistake is to try to manipulate the results.  By short-cutting the preparation of the horse, or by assuming that God’s job is yours, you take on a measure of stress that God never intended you to carry.  The result?  Unnecessary, deceptive feelings of failure or stress.  Or worse, the appearance of results without real spiritual fruit.

Let me introduce you to a guy with a prepared horse.  We don’t know his name, but we do know his condition.  He was a blind beggar. [Luke 18:35-43]  When he heard a rowdy crowd passing by one day, and found out it was the entourage surrounding Jesus, he began to holler.  The more the rabble tried to get him to shut up, the louder he got.  So Jesus stopped and asked him the golden question:

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Here was a faith that refused to be quiet.  This blind man ironically saw more clearly than the multitude of seeing people around Jesus.  He understood something of his heart.  I wonder if the locals would still have told the blind man to be quiet had they known in advance he would be healed that day.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

He also understood how desperate his own situation was.  He had an affliction he could do nothing about.  But he faced an opportunity to meet the only one who could do something about it.  And this man genuinely wanted to be free from blindness!

“What do you want me to do for you?”

What’s more, this man caught a glimpse of what was really important.  Notice how he made his living.  He was a panhandler, a professional connoisseur of charity.  The size of the crowd meant more people who could give money.  Yet when he heard it was Jesus, money was the furthest thing from his mind.

The more helpless you realize you are…

…the more you need to trust the heart of Christ, even if the whole world is telling you to shut up and deal with it.  He still frees desperate people from desperate situations.  But it requires letting go of the vain values that so often hold you captive and seeing what is really important.  Imagine the tragedy of the wrong answer to Jesus’ question.  Can’t you just imagine this guy saying, “Could you spare me some change”?

I’ve met Christians who blame God for a raw deal.  They ask for healing and don’t get it.  But they haven’t dug a ditch into their lifestyle or their belief system in order to receive it.  Others ask God to restore a broken relationship.  But they haven’t provided a container of new attitudes, forgiveness, or love in order to hold that restored relationship.  Still others have financial pressure and want God to increase their cash flow.  But they haven’t taken the time to listen to God’s instructions about managing the resources they have already been given.

Our problem is, with our words we say, “Come in,” but with our actions or unbelief, we say, “Stay out.”  Somehow, though, it’s always God’s fault.

If you’re needing big, and praying big, you’d better be hauling out a big container.  Our God is all-powerful, but He’s also a gentleman.  He can change whatever He enters, but He only enters wherever He’s welcome.

Where is He asking you to trust him?  How is he asking you to obey Him?  How are you preparing for the blessing to follow?  If you’re holding out a thimble, better not ask for the ocean.

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