It’s been a while since I’ve read and written about the Holy Spirit and Frances Chan’s Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. Too many other things and other issues taking precedence. But hopefully, I’ll be more consistent.
My last post in the Holy Spirit Series (sounds official, doesn’t it?) was about one of the fears: Fear of what others will think of you. This addresses our fear “What if God Doesn’t Come Through.” And because this one is important & since I couldn’t say it better than Chan, I’m going to quote very liberally from the book (in bold).
Chan says: One concern I’ve often heard (and felt) is, what if I pray for the Holy Spirit and nothing happens?…..It’s scary to pray boldly for change or freedom from sin, because if nothing happens, then doesn’t that mean God failed?
I think the fear of God failing us leads us to “cover for God.” This means we ask for less, expect less, and are satisfied with less because we are afraid to ask for or expect more. We even convince ourselves that we don’t want more – that we have all the “God” we need or could want. I can’t imagine how much it pains God to see His children hold back from relationship with the Holy Spirit out of fear that He won’t come through. How much it grieves Him to watch His children ignore the promises He’s made throughout Scripture due to fear that those promises won’t be kept!
….All this leads to a question we cannot escape: Does God really give the Holy Spirit to those who ask, or was Jesus lying when He said that? I have found that it comes down to faith: Do you believe God keeps His promises or not? Do your prayers and actions give evidence of your faith?
Boy, that last paragraph truly made me stop in my tracks. And THAT’S another post…maybe tomorrow.
….I realize that some of you reading this book have asked the Holy Spirit to do something and have not experienced the results you anticipated. Now you fear asking again because it would weaken your faith if God “fails to act” again. I’ve heard many people question God for not responding when they prayed in faith. I don’t doubt that these people prayed in faith, but the question is whether they prayed for things God has promised. Often, it’s the un-promised requests that God answers with a no.
I’ve always heard that God answers prayers 3 different ways: Yes, No, and Wait. But I’ve never thought of it quite this way….the un-promised requests.
There is a huge difference between believing what God has promised and praying for things you’d like to be true. I encourage you to pray confidently for what God has promised. Don’t put your hope in what others promise or what you’ve been told you’ll “get” if you are a “good Christian” (e.g. a good job, financial success, the perfect spouse, healthy children, a big house, etc.). And ultimately, you need to stake your faith in God alone, not in the gifts (good as they may be) that He gives. It really comes down to trust.
Do you trust God that when He says no or “not in this way” to you, you still believe He is good and doing what is best?
And that last sentence….so powerful. Again, I’ll be addressing that one….