Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just Like a Pebble

Standing at the edge, I found myself tempted by this irresistible urge. I had to know. I wanted to try. Purposefully, I clenched my hand, made my decision, and then threw the small stone into the water. For a moment longer, the surface of the large pond in the Uintah Mountains remained smooth as glass. Then everything changed.

Once the relatively small rock plunged into the water, there was little I could do to stop the reaction of natural consequences. From the spot where the rock hit the surface, ripples began to move through the water. I watched them surge outward, further and further, until they reached the opposite side of the pond. Upon arrival, the ripples reversed direction and mirrored the bank as they began a return trip to where the stone first fell.

Natural consequences are quite often predictable and easy to repeat. I think it interesting that consequences often carry an undesirable connotation as consistently as water carries a wave. Yet, consequences don’t have to be negative.

There have been moments in my life where I needed extra help and had nowhere to turn. Like the pond, my life was standing still, and it seemed that I was all alone. Figuratively speaking, that is when I threw my stone – I knelt in prayer and waited to see what would happen.

Faith is not a thing of little consequence. In fact, faith the size of a mustard seed has been reported to move mountains. With that kind of force, it is not possible to exercise faith without the effects of expected consequences.

Personal prayer to God is one of the simplest ways we can exercise our faith. The truth is, prayer works. Once you throw the rock, you cannot stop the consequences of that prayer any more than you can stop the ripples in the pond. God hears and answers prayers when we ask in faith. He is not limited in His ability to answer our prayers. Rather, we often limit what He can do by how much faith we put in Him.

If you are a skeptic, you might question my belief that God answers every prayer. In turn, I might reply that some ripples merely take longer to get to the other shore before making the return trip. Sometimes that distance is self imposed because we create distance through our disobedience. I also believe there are other distances that have nothing to do with our worthiness. Instead the time required to answer a prayer has more to do with each individual test of our faith. Some tests just take longer than others. God may have made Abraham wait a hundred years to give him a son, but he did answer his prayer.

In my own life, I have found personal prayer to be very powerful. Whenever I ask in faith, I can see the Lord’s hand both guiding and providing for me. Yes, things may appear very still when He wants me to see what I am capable of, but He does listen, and He does answer prayers. Every time we pray, there are natural consequences. A single prayer offered in faith may seem very small in a wide universe, but it sends a powerful message, just like a pebble in a pond.

What I Believe…

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