Ever notice that sometimes when you pray, God answers your prayers in totally unexpected ways? This happened to me two years ago, when I pleaded with the Lord to provide me with a new car. My car was 22 years old at the time, and it often broke down in the worst possible places, including in the middle of busy intersections. As I pleaded my case before God, and my husband Joe, my husband offered to let me drive his newer car in place of my old one. Amazed and delighted, I promptly took my husband up on his generous offer. For the next two years, Joe drove that old car to work every day without complaint, even though he had to endure a constant stream of ridicule from his coworkers. He was grateful for that old vehicle, and he treated it with respect. When the day came that the Lord provided Joe with a brand new car of his own, no one was happier for him than I was.
I learned two important lessons from this experience. One was that when we pray for rescue and relief, God may answer our prayers in very unexpected ways. I had earnestly prayed that the Lord would provide me with a new car, but instead, He led my husband to give me his own car, which was only a few years old at the time. The fact that my old vehicle never broke down for Joe confirmed that this arrangement was God's will, and He was pleased with my husband for making the sacrifice that he did. I heard someone wisely say, "Ask the Lord for the desires of your heart, but be thankful for what He gives you." When we pray for something and don't receive the answer we expect or hope for, it's tempting for us to get discouraged, or to feel sorry for ourselves. But God wants us to express our gratitude for whatever He sends us, and that gratitude will enable us to better enjoy the blessings He bestows.
The other thing I learned from this experience is that if we will make Spirit-led sacrifices, God will honor us for them. We may have to "do without" for a while, but if we keep a good attitude, the day will come when the Lord rewards us - often in unexpected and extraordinary ways. The Bible says: "Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do." (Ephesians 6:8 NLT) God is not in the habit of forgetting or overlooking the sacrifices we make for the sake of others. Even the smallest effort we make doesn't escape His notice, and we ought to view Him as the "Rewarder" that He truly is. (Matthew 10:42; Hebrews 11:6 NKJV) My husband learned this valuable lesson in a fresh, new way when he "sowed" his own car into my life, and reaped the rewards of a brand new one for himself.
If God is calling you to make some sort of sacrifice today, sow it as a seed, asking Him to grant you a harvest of blessings in return. Keep a good attitude, which is one of the best ways to "water" your seed, and reap the greatest return on your investment!
Prayer: Lord, when I ask You for something, and You don't give me exactly what I want, please help me to be grateful for what You do give me. When You call upon me to make sacrifices for the sake of others, enable me to make them with a right heart. Thank You that as I live a life of selflessness and gratitude, I will reap an abundance of spiritual and earthly rewards!
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