Week of January 18
The All-Seeing One
"Okay, God, what do I do now? How do I handle this situation?"
Most of us have asked these and similar questions countless times in prayer. Questions like these usually imply we're ready to do something as soon as the All-Seeing One directs. We want to take action.
Sometimes, however, we don't need to do anything; we simply need to see the situation differently. In recent days, the word see has become operative in my prayers to God for help.
For example, suppose I'm aware of a number of problems among my friends. Phil and his son are at odds; unless something happens, Marie and Jim will end up in divorce court; a man I care about very much has started to drink and I suspect it's taking over his life. As I have become aware of these and other situations, my natural inclination is to do something. I want to fix things.
Yet the Bible shows me that Jesus didn't rush to the rescue. When he heard that his friend Lazarus was sick, he didn't set off for Bethany. He waited until it was God's time for him to go (John 11). He refused to act despite the voices around him that cried, "Do something."
When we pray, "Show me what to do," it implies that we believe God wants us to do something. Instead, God may want us to hear the words, "Be quiet. Do nothing."
I don't find it easy to hear the voice that stops me from jumping into action, but I've developed a way to approach God in perplexing situations. I offer my prayer to the All-Seeing One who knows the end from the beginning. I say, "Let me see this situation from the right perspective." When I—or any of us—pray these words, we are opening ourselves to hear God's marching orders—or stopping orders.
It isn't always easy, but we can learn to ask God to allow us to see the situation and show us where or how we fit into the solution—that is, if we do fit in at all. Maybe the All-Seeing One doesn't want us actively involved. As we ask God to open that all-seeing vision to us, we may become aware that we're to do nothing. When this happens, we can pray for those involved to come up with a solution.
For instance, how many times do we see things that we're convinced need to be changed at church? Some of us, with our limited view of the entire church program, could come up with a list of twenty things to make a healthier, happier church. Maybe our ideas are good—even brilliant—but our involvement may not be the mandate of the All-Seeing One.
Praying to the All-Seeing God can be extremely liberating. We realize that we don't have to put out every fire or be the rescuer in every situation. It reminds us that God-Who-Sees-All will direct us: when to take action, when to remove our hands, and when to pray for others to intervene.
I recall how this worked for me in one situation with a business associate. A problem had risen that did not involve me directly. However, I was sure I knew the solution, and decided to write him a letter. Ordinarily, I would have prayed, "God, show me what to write. Direct my words." I wanted to straighten out the other person involved; I believed that unless I did something, the situation wouldn't work out. Everything hinged on my actions.
I started to write the letter but then stopped. I was taking action before I heard God speak. I stopped, turned away from my computer, and prayed. "All-Seeing One, help me see what to do in this situation. Where do I fit into it?"
I waited for God to give me some glorious ideas to zap out on my computer. I heard nothing. No words came. I continued to wait. Within a few minutes, I knew the answer: It wasn't my problem to resolve. The other person hadn't asked me to solve it anyway.
Such incidents help me realize I don't have everything in life figured out. I've grasped enough, though, to realize that I am limited by my own senses, except when God graciously imparts insight. Like many others, I tend to see myself in the center of the vast universe and, in that position, I have to respond to everything that affects me. But sometimes, God doesn't call us to respond. Sometimes a loving God allows us only to see. And when we see, maybe it's God's call for us to pray to the All-Seeing One to act.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will guide you with my eye. --Psalms 32:8
for rushing into action;
forgive me for being so presumptuous to think
I must always be poised to act;
forgive me for not allowing you to show me
what I need to know in a situation.
Teach me always to ask you to let me see
what I need to see. Amen.
For more from Cec, please visit www.cecilmurphey.com.
Cecil Murphey has written more than one hundred books on a variety of topics with an emphasis on Spiritual Growth, Christian Living, Caregiving, and Heaven. He enjoys preaching in churches and speaking and teaching at conferences around the world. To book Cec for your next event, please contact Twila Belk at 563-332-1622.