Thursday, March 5, 2009

Little Things

As a lot of you know, I tend to have a great passion for prayer, that sometimes subsides into a lack of trust in God's providence. Failure to trust in God's promises happens quite easily. "This is too little a thing to concern God." "God's got other stuff on his mind." When I say this, I defy the absolute sovereignty of God. If he is concerned about the lilies of the valley, and the fall of a sparrow, then surely he cares about my most insipid and whimsical desire. God's mind is never too full to notice the littlest thing happening on the earth or in the hearts of men. After all, it's all a part of God's plan.
I began thinking about this a few days ago, when something happened. Now this is not at all extraordinary. A great deal of things happen all the time, every minute of every day. But to me, one of millions and millions of people on the earth, it seemed a rather remarkable thing. As many of you know, the four girls (Chloe, me, Tirzah, and Olivia) share the attic room. At the very top of our stairs is a window facing south. Chloe and I usually sit on the floor beneath the window and do our school. The sun comes through quite conveniently, and so one day I was basking thus in the sun, with fleece blankets and pillows, feeling very lazy and quite like I deserved a rest. But really I didn't deserve anything. Come to think of it, I hadn't done hardly half of my school, and I had ever so much work to do. But really, I was so very tired and out of sorts. I wished very much for some poetry.... I love poetry, especially when I'm out of sorts. I then feel like Tennyson agrees with me.
But there were no poetry books within two feet of where I was positioned. I was very put out by this, because I really did want some sort of poetry--not that seemingly tiresome history book. Poetry, I thought, was just the thing right now. Poetry feeds my imagination--makes me think all sorts of splendid thoughts and ideas! O, I DO need it right now! But of course, I was much too lazy to get up and get it... After all... I was very tired...
The arrangement of our room is such that there is a bookcase right under the afore-mentioned window. It's a rather meager little thing, but it had my Elsie Dinsmore collection, Little House on the Prairie, and others. I languidly picked out a random book. It was Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carrol. How delightful, Lewis Carrol always did right such funny poetry! I disinterestedly opened it. On the first page was a poem. Just what I had wanted! But this gave me a divine revelation (ask anyone... I'm really into those these days): I was being so lazy, and slothful, and I could have jumped up and gotten some poetry immediately, or better yet, finished my school and THEN read some. But I felt like my immediate need was poetry. The first thing that rushed into my mind was, "And God answered this selfish wish?" I don't think it would have been quite right to have prayed, "Please Lord, you know my weakness right now... I can't get the book. But I pray that you would send a sibling up to get it, or bring it to me that I might enjoy myself a little." That is full of selfishness--yes, exactly what I was feeling. But yet, He did answer the prayer. Shortly after I read the poem, I began reading the book itself to Olivia. And then I finished my school.
But this came on my mind--I don't know why God had directed my hand to pick that book, and why there had been a poem in the beginning of that particular book, and I don't know why I was granted a selfish wish, but I do know that a great many thoughts proceeded from this extraordinary thing.
Nothing, not one little thing, is too tiny to take to the Lord in prayer. He loves us, and he hears us, and he answers us one way or another. Our prayers are naturally selfish... If we are worms grovelling in the dust at the feet of the Almighty, then our prayers stink. But if we are asking for a selfish thing (like I was) then we should pray that God would redirect our desires. Or of course, we could just tell ourselves that we are stupid and get up and do the thing ourselves. But that's not my point. *reaches a sticky spot* um... I don't know exactly how to word this. It is my belief that we ought to take EVERYTHING before the Lord, no matter how great or small. I'm beginning to think this doesn't make sense.... But I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all have selfish ambitions, and that our prayers are naturally selfish, but no matter what, we need to pray about the little things too. I have found personally that a result of this is implicit faith and trust in God. When I cease to pray for awhile, my trust decreases. But I think praying is a way that we tend our garden of trusting in God. C. H. Spurgeon said, "I never pray for more than five minutes... but I never go five minutes without praying." Now, I thought, How in the world does he find so many things to pray for? The other half in me answered, How do you find ever so many things to think about?
As many things as there are to think about, there should be to pray about.

Did that make sense? Here's one of my favorite hymns to express my thoughts more completely:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

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