My pastor talked about something at church Sunday that I'm still pondering. He talked about the pictures we create about a subject and how that leads us to pray a certain way. He gave the example of revival. Ten different people have 10 different pictures of what revival looks like. Some may think it's when dozens get saved, some view it as happening when big miracles take place, and others will picture revival as long wild services that last hours. He said that people will pray for whatever their vision of revival is instead of praying for what God wants to do. Then people will judge whether or not revival has come based upon those pictures we have. So he went on to talk about how we should rip up some pictures we have in our minds that prevent us from seeing God and praying the right way.
I started thinking about some pictures I have had to mentally rip up over the years. I had to rip these pictures up so I wouldn't be upset and bitter. I had to rip up the picture I had of a healthy baby that I prayed for during my pregnancy. If I hung on to that picture, I'd still be upset. I had to rip up the picture of the house I thought I'd be living in. This may sound really trivial but when we got our house we thought it was our starter house. Yet 10 years later, we are still here with no thoughts of leaving. Jaycee's medical expenses have erased plans for something different. Our house isn't terrible but it's small. Every drawer, corner, and both closets are packed full. I'm not a collector or hoarder but it feels like it in this house! For awhile I got really agitated when I would put laundry away and would have to cram it in the drawers. I just got upset because reality was not matching up with my picture. Somewhere along the way, I ripped that picture up and became content with where I was. I don't have a picture of a different house now. If it happens, it happens; if not, that's fine.
This week I was thinking about the picture I have of Jaycee's health. I pray often for her lungs (asthma and sleep apnea) to be strong and have good breathing. This week God started dealing with me about my picture of her health. I have this fantasy picture that Jaycee's "good" health would mean there's no bi-pap needed for her apnea and there's no more inhalers for her asthma. My picture of a healthy Jaycee hasn't happened yet because she still needs meds and a machine to help her breathe well. There's still oxygen in her room for when she's having an attack. I look around and see she's not "healthy." But God has showed me that my picture is wrong. I'll never be thankful and grateful if that's the picture I've set for her. It's not that I can't prayer for her to be medicine and machine free one day but I can't let that prevent me from seeing what's happening now. Jaycee has had 2 colds this year and it never went to her lungs. That is highly unusual. I can always count on a cold to turn into more than just a cold. She has been hospital free for almost 10 months. That's the longest stretch she's had in 2 years. God is answering my prayer for her lungs to be strong and for her to be healthy. I just couldn't acknowledge God working because my picture wouldn't allow it.
So I encourage you to think about those mental pictures you have and decide if you need to rip them up so you can see God moving in your life.