Summary: What do you do when prayers seems to stir up a CAN OF WORMS?
1. Genesis 25:19-22 - WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? (Persistent Prayer when I don't understand)
The pain comes gradually over a three week period and crescendoes on Wednesday.
I need to stay focused in order to counsel a grieving family as we talk about the funeral, so I put the pain aside until 2.30pm when I get in my car, drive home and go to bed for the rest of the afternoon. The next day I see a trainee doctor who tells me that it is all a mystery and suggests a pain killer. The pain doesn't go away. Will I be able to get up to speak at the funeral?
The next morning I feel completely pain free for the entire time I speak. God's grace. The power of prayer! I am so grateful. But just as I walk out the door the pain begins again. More pain, another doctor, an Ultrasound, a CT scan, hospital for 3 days. Lord, why is this happening to me?
It seems that over the first 20 year period of their married life God wanted to teach both Isaac and Rebekah about being PERSISTENT IN PRAYER. They knew that Abraham, Isaac's dad, had trouble having children until they were quite old and now they were faced with the same problem. All they could do was learn the principles of PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
With Abraham's example, GIVING UP was not an option for Isaac and Rebekah. Matthew 7:7 (NLT) encourages us to “KEEP ON asking, and you will receive what you ask for. KEEP ON seeking, and you will find. KEEP ON knocking, and the door will be opened to you."
The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man makes a difference (James 5:16) and after 20 years, the Lord answers Isaac's prayer and Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins (Genesis 25:21). After 20 years!
At what point along the way am I going to give up and take the position that God is not going to answer? What is the point that I resign myself to thinking that He isn't going to fulfil what He has promised in His Word? Will I stop praying after a week? A month? 6 months? A year? 5 years maybe? 10 years is a long time. 20 years seems forever! Will I stop a day before I receive God's answer? An hour? A minute too soon? Am I going to do the same thing that Abraham did and try to help God along a little with His promises? Find an answer for myself? My way?
Even when God has already promised to meet my needs, somehow the Lord wants to make me acutely aware that prayer RELEASES what God has promised. Prayer focuses our reliance upon the grace of God and the TIMING is up to Him.
But the prayer journey takes a new twist. It seems even when she has her prayers answered concerning one major area in Rebekah's life that the story of STRUGGLE doesn't end there. Rebekah is pregnant after 20 years but she is obviously having a tough time during her pregnancy and because she is a believer like her husband she also goes to the Lord for help. She cries out to God “Why is this happening to me?” Ever cried out to God like that? I know how she feels. Not that I will ever be pregnant, but it seems that in my experience giving birth to anything that God wants for your life involves a STRUGGLE IN PRAYER.
Jesus knows what it is like to struggle in prayer. In the garden of Gethsemane He prays “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” ... He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood" (Luke 22:42-44 NLT). Lord, why is this happening to Me? The Father's will is done but it involves a tremendous struggle. Jesus bears our sin.
The invitation that Rebekah and Isaac and Jesus Himself gives to us comes by way of a question. Are you willing to struggle with prayer for the purposes of God in your life? At what point will you give up the struggle? Am I willing to trust in Him when all I feel at present is the pain? ...
2. Genesis 25:21-23 - CAN OF WORMS! (Trusting in Christ to sort out the mess)
Some of the questions addressed in the TV show called "CAN OF WORMS" are "Is porn a normal, healthy part of adult life?" 52% of Austalians said "No!" "Is marriage necessary anymore?" 78% of Australians said "Yes!" and 68% said that gay people also have a right to marry.