My family and I were on vacation last week at the beach. A brief rain shower came through while the sun was still shining. It was the perfect condition for a rainbow. My daughter and I waited for the rain to stop before walking down to the beach. Rainbows have always been my “thing”. It never fails that when we are at the beach I see a rainbow.
So, as we were walking, we were praying, “Lord, show us a rainbow. We are expecting it.” You can imagine my disappointment when we walked down there and did not see a rainbow. We even walked on the bridge to get an aerial view of the sky. Still no rainbow. I wasn’t taking no for an answer.
So we stepped off the bridge and starting walking down the beach, still looking up in the sky for the rainbow. Nothing. I kept saying, “I am expecting You to show me a rainbow.” Then what do you know, I stopped looking all around and I just looked STRAIGHT AHEAD and there was a rainbow…umbrella!! I said out loud, “I meant in the sky!” Luckily no one was close enough to hear me. Oh, how I love His sense of humor!
But isn’t that just like us in our prayer life? We pray expecting something totally different. I guess I needed to be more specific because after all He did show me a rainbow, just not in the way I imagined.
When we pray, we go into that prayer already have a preconceived thought of what that answer might look like but all the while God has something totally different in mind. Sure, He answers it, but just not how we thought.
We need to pray with expectancy but also with an open mind. Sometimes all we need to do is just look straight ahead.
We often miss what’s right in front of us because we’re looking everywhere else for something else.
That umbrella was there the whole time, I just missed it because my eyes were set on something different.
I know this may sound silly to some, but I hope we don’t miss the point in this story. To not miss what’s right in front of us, that He’s already answered the prayer if we would stop looking everywhere else and just look straight ahead at what’s right in front of us.
James 1:6-8, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
The verses preceding speak of the Christian going through trials and the graces that are produced while going through those difficult times. While the world tells you to be calm during those times, Scripture tells us to have joy (v. 2). The testing of your faith produces patience (v. 4). It flows into praying for wisdom (v. 5). If you lack it, ask for it!
James is telling Christians not to pray for the removal of the trial, but for wisdom through the trial. Guess what the rest of the verse 5 says? That whoever asks for wisdom through this God gives it to them liberally, bountifully, and without judgement or criticism!
It’s very fitting that this next verse uses the analogy of a doubting Christian to the waves of the sea. So here we are at the beach, waves going every which way, and I’m looking for an answer to this prayer.
A doubting Christian can be dangerous. Doubt leads our minds astray to the “what if’s” and the “what could have been’s”.
“A wavering faith and spirit has a bad influence upon our conversations. A double-minded man is unstable is all his ways (v. 8). When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be great unsteadiness in all our conversation and actions. This may sometimes expose men to contempt in the world; but it is certain that such ways cannot please God nor procure any good for us in the end. While we have but one God to trust to, we have but one God to be governed by, and this should keep us even and steady. He that is unstable as water shall not excel.” -Matthew Henry
“You will only live a life as bold as your prayers.” -Beth Moore
Are you praying in faith (v. 6)?
Are you doubting when crying out to the Lord (v. 6)?
Are you praying with expectancy?
Belief takes action…so where are you looking?