January is a fabulous month for brand new beginnings. But often times all that ambition gets lost in the January dreariness and we loose our momentum. This is so true if we’re trying to reach a goal that we weren’t able to reach before. And especially true if we’re trying to obtain the same goal in the same fashion we’ve attempted before. I think Albert Einstein gets right to the point when he says: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”; the definition of Insanity.
It’s kinda common sense that if Route A didn’t work, try Route B instead. Like if your goal is to drink more water and your plan is to stop whenever you see a water fountain and sip. After a few days you realize you haven’t been drinking more water. Every time you leave the house you remind yourself to be mindful of where the water fountains are. Good idea. Unless of course there aren’t any water fountains where you are walking, which you realize is true. Once you’ve had that realization then it’s just silly to continue in that fashion, insane really. Some of us more stubborn folk would insist that there must be a water fountain, we made a good plan, just stick with it and success will follow but, really, instead we should switch it up and start carrying around a water bottle. Common sense, right?
I get that. Sometimes it takes me a little longer than others, but eventually I get that.
I often approach my faith life in the same manner. I get caught up in looking for the blessings. And if I can’t see them I assume I haven’t been properly seeking them. That Route A isn’t working, time to find Route B. God has to remind me that often Christianity is uncommon sense.
Particularly prayer. I think of Hannah who prayed, and prayed, and prayed for a son. And not just little ‘oh yeah God, that thing I’m committing to prayer- I pray for that.”; Hannah prayed so hard, so fervently, so passionately she was mistaken for a drunk. She prayed for years. And the Bible doesn’t say her prayer was just immediately answered after the events recorded in 1 Samuel 1, it says “in the course of time” God delivered on that request. From what the Bible tells us I’m sure she didn’t stop praying until her request was granted, (and even then I think she prayed just as faithfully- a new prayer.) She continued unwavering, with the same tactics, the same MO, the same game plan- for years.
I think we’ve all heard stories about people who have prayed and prayed for something, fervently, for years. Often times in those situations there are other options. Maybe you’re petitioning God for your own biological child. Everyone else is gently nudging you to consider adoption. Maybe you’re praying for wisdom to dig out of financial troubles. The people around you are telling you to file for bankruptcy. Perhaps you are daily laying a troubled family member at the foot of the cross. And pamphlets keep on showing up in your mailbox about institutions promising ‘Serenity’. Maybe you simply find yourself on your knees every hour of every minute of every day for strength to get ‘er done and, instead of joining you, your friends invite you to escape to Hawaii.
In all those circumstances people will label you insane.
God calls you faithful.
When it comes to prayer the common sense thing to do is totally uncommon. And just like you can recall folks who have faithfully done the uncommon thing, you can also recount the uncommon answers to those prayers. And, in God’s economy, that just makes sense.