As we walked into Sabbath School class, my friend John said, "You’ll never guess what happened to me this week, but class is starting. I'll have to tell you later.”
“Great,” I thought, eager to end the suspense. After class, I found John and asked, "OK, what happened?"
“Well, my wife is always making these honey-do lists," John smiled. "And then she then she nags me to get it done. I don’t like to come home from work and then do more work. I’m a builder all day, and the last thing I want to do is come home and fix more things."
I tried to nod understandingly, wondering where this conversation was headed. “But this past week has been interesting," he explained. 'I had this odd urge to fix everything I could, until there was nothing else to fix. Then I asked my wife, "Don't you have more things you want done?' She opened a drawer and pulled out a honey-do list. I took it and fixed everything I could on the list." "On Friday, I was resting in my easy chair as the sun was setting," he continued. "My wife came over, kissed me, and thanked me for all the repairs I'd done during the week. Then she asked, 'Have you noticed I haven't been nagging you?'"
John thought about it and realized she hadn’t said a word to him all week about what needed to be done. “You’re right! You haven’t! I actually had to ask you for the honey-do list.”
Smiling, she explained, “That’s because for the past several months, I’ve just been asking the Holy Spirit to nag you instead!" John laughed, and so did I.
It’s true, though. If I pray more, nag less, and stop trying to fix everything myself, I could save a lot of trouble.
Maybe we don’t get the immediate answer we wanted, but God also asks us to be persistent in prayer. And God does not think we’re nagging. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find: knock, and it will be opened" (Luke 11:9, NKJV).
The words ask, seek, and knock are ongoing verbs. They mean keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. I often think my biggest problem is persistence. It's tempting to get discouraged because answers don't come right away. Sometimes things even seem to get worse when I pray. But if I am sincerely praying, I can trust that God is answering. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isa. 55:8,9, NKJV).
Clarence Schilt writes, “We do much, if not most, of our sinning when we are right and right is not happening for us—we’re not being treated right” (A Life to Die For, p. 176). That is certainly true for me! I need to learn to shut my mouth, wait on God, and let Him change people or situations instead of trying to do it myself."
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" (Prov. 3:5, NKJV).