The older I have gotten, the longer I have walked with the Lord Jesus, the simpler and more childlike this life has become, especially during this recent time of great testing.
More than one of you who read this blog have noted how a lot of my entries earlier this year foreshadowed this fearsome test. I caught one of those hints of the future today as I returned to a quote by one of my favorite mentors, Andrew Murray, and it was another epiphany about how simple things have become for me (and how simple they can be for all of us).
It started with an entry in my journal this morning: "Papa, I am beginning truly to believe that you are hearing our prayers, brief though they may be, if we are indeed listening to you and praying as and when you lead! There is much, much more, of course, that you wish to show me. Ah, Papa, how did we make everything so complicated and 'religious' when you have told us all along that it was simple and childlike? Yet you are rescuing me/us and I am so undone, so grateful!" This thought in turn led me to the following from Andrew Murray about prayer, "We are to begin in the patient love of the Father...Think about how His great love understands the poor beginnings of His little ones, clumsy and simple as they may seem to others. All this and infinitely more lies in this blessed relationship! Don't be afraid to claim it as your own!" (With Christ In the School of Prayer, chapter 6).
Can receiving answers to prayer be this simple? I believe the answer is yes--I still believe the answer is yes even given the long season of wrestling that we are experiencing. You see, one frequent temptation for me during this trial has been to make things complicated--fear does that to us, I think. But I have noticed something very important along the way that combats this temptation to complexity: all of God's answers and gifts and thousands of creative ways to bless us have come not through our own heroic effort--indeed, there has been no connection to our effort at all! Instead, as Father again and again gathered me/us into His embrace and invited us to share what was on our hearts, His gifts have come. It seems, then, that when I have been most childlike and have found myself "simply asking," simply trusting that Father has given those good gifts that He promises (Matthew 7:11).
And so, as Brother Lawrence affirmed over 300 years ago, prayer has become increasingly simple (along with all of life, really!). And this morning's wonder at a clear answer to a very simple prayer that began with an awareness of "the patient love of the Father" underscored once again to me our Father's commitment to make all of the Kingdom so simple that it would be fully accessible to babes and children!
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." (Luke 10:21)
Living ever more simply in Father's love,
Tom, one of His children