Psalm 148, 149, 150 (Morning)
Psalm 114, 115 (Evening)
“Be careful what you ask/wish/pray for–you might get it.”
I’ve heard the old saw all three ways–you probably have too. Well, in our reading from Joshua, that’s just what’s happening. All those years in the wilderness, praying for a place the Hebrew people can call home–and finally, at long last, they are going to cross the Jordan and live in it.
Have you ever noticed that so many times, we ask for things from God, steeling ourselves for “no,” or a “not yet,” that when what is revealed is “yes,” we are stunned? We were so busy thinking of how to move forward with loss that we don’t even entertain the possibility of abundance.
Consequently, we don’t always handle those gifts of abundance, or moments of grace perfectly. Sometimes we are slow to act on it because it’s too good to be true. Sometimes we squander it. Sometimes we mis-use it in self-serving ways…and sometimes we simply ignore it and live in denial about the gift.
Well…without revealing any plot spoilers, the Hebrew people in the book of Joshua will have some of those very same issues. When it comes to answered prayers, you can bet the farm the story never ends with, “So their prayer was answered, and they all lived happily ever after, and it was all hunky-dory for ever and ever. The end.”
There’s always something new when our prayers are answered. Perhaps it’s a new responsibility, or a new task. Perhaps we discover that our new gift requires a certain amount of maintenance we didn’t expect…or maybe the answered prayer comes with a new eye-opening realization that this gift wasn’t meant for us to hoard, but it was meant for us to share.
The good news is we don’t have to think we have to figure this out by ourselves. After all, that answered prayer started back with a relationship with a loving Creator who delights in our asking for our heart’s desires. It makes perfect sense to ask God, “Now what?” God answers those prayers, too–and often the answer is revealed in our relationships with each other. (Just don’t be surprised if that “other” is a person you might consider an unlikely teacher.)
When is a time in your life you found yourself poised to enter “the promised land?” What did you do when the barrier was dropped and you were given the freedom to enter into the new world of your answered prayer?
Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, is a grateful member of Trinity Episcopal Church and a postulant to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. She occasionally finds time to write about the obscurities of life, medicine, faith, and the Episcopal Church on her blog, Kirkepiscatoid.