Do you really want freedom?
Have you prayed any dangerous prayers lately? What are those, you say? Dangerous prayers are the kind that, when answered, make you sorry you ever asked. For instance, the Israelites prayed a dangerous prayer after they had been slaves in Egypt for four hundred years. Let's look more closely at that one.
The prayer went like this: "And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God." (Exodus 2:24) The scripture then tells us that "God heard their groaning…and God took notice of them."
The Lord put in motion an answer that would lead them to say; "Would that we had died by the Lord's hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full." (Exodus 16:3) They said that even before they started wandering in the wilderness for forty years.
Here's what they said while they wandered: "'Why did we ever leave Egypt?'" (Numbers 11:20) Even though God had done great miracles while delivering them from slavery, they were sorely pressed in the process. God's promise that they would inherit their own land beckoned them forward yet they wished they had never asked for freedom.
The truth is that they would never have cried out to the Lord in the first place if their affliction in Egypt had not been so severe. For better treatment as slaves they would willingly have stayed put because it was comfortable and safe. They really had no idea what freedom would feel like or what would be required to obtain it. That's why, when they began to feel pinched; God lifted his hand and let things get much, much worse.
Price of Freedom
Not a lot has changed with human nature in the thousands of years that have passed since Moses led those whiners across the Red Sea and into a forty year desert experience. Are we so different? We'd like to think so but we often settle for Plan C, D, or F because we are comfortable and things are "tolerable."
Sometimes, however, we get desperate enough with the stinky condition of our life to utter one of those dangerous prayers. "Lord, do whatever it takes to make me like Jesus." "God, I will serve you no matter what." "Father, remove anything from me that hinders my relationship with you."
God is more than willing to answer because it was his idea in the first place to free us from any "slavery" we live with. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)
Like the Israelites, we don't know what our dangerous prayer is going to require. With our character at stake, God doesn't usually just snap his fingers. He may part a couple of seas to start us off but a desert probably isn't far behind. Genuine freedom will require faith and faith grows best in the soil of difficulties. Otherwise, why would it be called "faith"?
Suddenly, we are in adversity such as we never imagined. Our desert is so hot we don't even relate our circumstances to the prayer we uttered in the beginning with such sincerity. As far as we know, we have been abandoned and all God's promises are mirages.
It is when we are stripped bare that the weight of our prayer is fully realized. It is then that we too may begin to whine and beg to go back to our own Egypt. "We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic." (Numbers 11:5) Resist that. Don't look back; press on - the Promised Land is ahead and you will get there. The thing that you prayed is the very thing God wants for you - freedom - and each trial is unhooking you from whatever prevents your experiencing it.
Remember that in the case of the Israelites, they were out of Egypt long before Egypt was out of them. Do you have a little Egypt still in you? Don't worry; the desert will burn it out. Whether you know it or not, that was the whole idea behind the dangerous prayer.
Note: What to expect when you pray a dangerous prayer
Don't be surprised by the heat. "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)
Sometimes things get worse before they get better.
Freedom often takes longer than you expected.
You will come to wonder if the pain you are enduring is worth it after all. (It is.)
Faith is tested to the breaking point so that it is proven unshakable and unbreakable. "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6)
In the end here is how you will see it: "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison." (2 Corinthians 4:17)
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