On Tangles and Tenacity

“To execute on them the written judgment – this honor have all His saints.” Psalm 149:9

There have been a couple of time the Holy Spirit spoke to me through a situation. I wrote about one in March 2002 (see Upstream Dream). Another happened several years later. Some friends and I had returned to DFW Airport from a leisure trip, and they were catching a commuter flight to their city. I was traveling for work a lot in those days and maintained an American Airlines Admiral’s Club membership. We made use of the Club’s amenities that evening while we waited for my friends’ flight, which was to depart from another terminal.

The hostess told us on check-in, “Don’t worry about walking to the terminal, we’ll provide a cart to take you there.” Nice! Membership has its privileges.

As instructed, we went to the desk a little while before boarding and asked for our ride. “We’ll call them right away,” we were told. “Just go downstairs to the terminal and wait.” Down the elevator we went to wait in the bustling terminal. We waited. And waited.

“I better go back upstairs and check,” I said. I was the member. It fell to me. The hostess at the desk was surprised to see me. “They didn’t come?” she asked. “I’ll call them again. Please just go downstairs and wait.”

Back downstairs I went. Again we waited. And waited. The clock was ticking. Already we were into boarding time. Already it was iffy whether we could strike out on foot and make it to the gate before departure time. Still, no cart.

Upstairs again I went. “What?” said the hostess, “They still haven’t picked you up?” This time I was quite firm, reminding her we were now in a pinch because we trusted their service. She picked up the phone and called whomever it was they called for such things. When she hung up she told me they had gone to the Admiral’s Club in another terminal by mistake. Good thing I asked that last time. Apparently, the cart driver went back to the barn when he found no one waiting. The hostess assured me the matter was settled, and sure enough the driver picked us up and drove without delay to the gate. The flight was made, barely. All ended well.

Even while we were in the middle of the episode, I felt such a sense of meaning in the actions I was taking: Standing around in the loud terminal with people going back and forth. Not having any way to know where the cart was or when it was coming. The sinking feeling it wasn’t coming. Then ascending via the elevator to the quiet space where assurances were made that, yes, you have a right to the cart. You have a dilemma, but an answer is included in your membership. It’s coming your way. Then, going back downstairs to the busy terminal for more waiting and wondering. Ascending again to inquire, even demand, and try to find some assurance.

The whole event was a picture of prayer. Not just a prayer, but repeated inquiry for something that had been promised.

Paul the Apostle wrote that God by His mercy and grace, has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). Kinda reminds me of that beautifully appointed upstairs Admirals Club, where everything was orderly and as it should be. It was a different realm than the noisy and, forgive the term – common, terminal. Even the upstairs/downstairs arrangement strengthened the illustration. Upstairs was the heavenly, spiritual world where answers were available. Downstairs was the earthly dimension where they were needed but not forthcoming.

Chapter 10 of the book of Daniel gives a clearly literal account of an angel dispatched to bring answers. This unnamed messenger was hindered by a dark prince, and he was assisted by that great arch angel Michael. Paul was just as clear in his letter to the believers at Ephesus, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) How? How do we wrestle with them? In prayer.

When the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, He said do it this way, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) He said to ask, and keep asking (Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:9). The Lord even went so far as to say, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24) But what about when we pray and nothing happens?

A certain minister recently said it. Out loud. Sometimes the answer is so tangled it doesn’t come, even though we have prayed according to God’s will. The minister drew a comparison to preaching to the unsaved. It’s God’s will that none should perish, (2 Peter 3:9) but many will not believe. Does that mean we don’t try to reach all? Of course not. God would bring His reign to bear on every situation, through us, His saints. It is we who are the “members of the club”. Such membership has the privilege, the honor, to execute His written judgment in the earth. Through prayer.

“Praying through” has long been the way we express this persistence that doesn’t stop until we receive the confidence an answer is coming: A breakthrough. The breakthrough may not always be apparent. It may not always come in the timing of our need. But God forbid we stop short. There may be times the flight departs without someone we care for because their cart didn’t make it, but may it never deter our hope. After all, He’s the Redeemer too. And that opens a whole other topic for consideration. For all the promises of God in Christ are “Yes”, and in Him “Amen” to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20) He always finds a way.

Besides, hoofing it on our own isn’t much of an alternative.

© Melissa Kay Simonds

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