Have you ever been shocked by an answered prayer? I have. I guess that shows a lack of faith, but it’s true. For instance when I told my son to pray for a dog, my motivation was selfish. I just wanted him to stop asking me, I didn’t actually want a dog. I mean, if I really believed in the power of prayer like I say I do, maybe I would have thought twice about my suggestion, especially since we are now the proud owners of a happy healthy boxer! Yes, God has a sense of humor!
A year and a half ago, however, I prayed a much more solemn prayer. After my pastor was caught in an affair(s), I made a very specific and desperate request to God.
“Please Lord, expose all that is hidden. Bring light to any other adulterous affairs, so that the body of Christ will grow. Remove the leaven.”
Three days later my prayer was answered with another affair exposed, and once again the answered prayer surprised me. It was not only fast but sadly personal. Nevertheless, I accepted the answer and even asked for more. I knew it was for the good of the body. Since that day my prayer has been answered over and over. Yet every time I have been shocked and heart broken. Every time.
However we all know that hypocritical living is not limited to Christians, right? Just today I got news about my beloved eye doctor, the man who had asked me “Which one is better? Is it one or two?” for the last 26 years. The quirky guy with the high-waisted pants that made me laugh every visit. I found out that He was forced to retire. Forced? The assistant that delivered this news to me hinted at serious wrong doing. But how serious? I have to know. Who was this man? Was he merely being stubborn in his older age? Or was it financial? Or worse. Was it abuse? I guess you never really know someone do you? Another person I trusted. Another person I looked up to. Another liar?
At this point I had all but forgotten the prayer I lifted to heaven that day a year and a half ago. I just knew I had enough revelations for a while. Is anybody who they say there are?
“No more!!” I begged God. I need a week, but would settle for just a days reprieve from finding out about one more person living a double life. My heart is tired.
Moments later I get a text about Josh Duggar. Seriously?
When I looked online I saw the unbelievable. 32 Million different adulterers exposed by a hero hacker.
Today I thought back to that prayer.
Honestly, I had no idea this prayer would even be answered once, never mind 32 Million times.
Although my first response was anger, my next was hope.
You see, yesterday I was sharing with my class of 10 homeschoolers the absolute need for the fear of God as stated in Proverbs 1.
As a child I could never get away with anything, I explained to a room of 12 year old tweens. Regularly I would hear about other kids deceiving their parents, and think, “man! I would totally get caught if I did that!” Because I did. Every time. My mom had a direct link to God, and it kept me in check. Getting caught so frequently sure instilled the fear of God in my heart. Just the other day I was faced with a decision to tell a “white lie” or tell the truth which in turn would lead to a really difficult conversation. And the reality was that I wasn’t tempted for one second. This is not because I have such high moral character, but simply because I just know God. And I know I will get caught and have to face the consequences which would likely be more uncomfortable then just obeying.
As Christians, we need a renewed fear of God. Is it possible that we have tried to focus so much on the grace of God that we have forgotten about the righteousness of God?
I have renewed hope, because maybe, just maybe, with this huge exposure, people will think twice before clicking on an adulterous website, whether actual or virtual. Maybe people will remember the verse, “Surely your sin will find you out,” instead of being fooled by the devil’s age old lies of “No, your marriage will not die,” or “No, your job will not die” or “No, your reputation will not die” because it will. Every time. And yes, our God does bring the dead back to life, but death causes a lot of pain. So why put your family/friends/coworkers through that? No instead, remember that God sees, and He will not be mocked. Step away from the temptation. Literally. Take drastic measures and honor God. Do the right thing because the wrong thing has consequences. And you will face them.
We all have hidden sin, stuff we would rather people not know about us. Whether it is “big” or “small” we do not have to be slaves to sin. Jesus wants to set us free! So take these warnings. Take these admonitions. Fear the Lord. And confess your sin one to another. Find a trusted friend. Open your heart and be vulnerable. Ask for accountability. And feel the freedom of obedience! Right now. Don’t let the moment pass you by. Wisdom is crying in the streets. Answer today.You will never regret the moment that you chose life over death. So choose life. For the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.