Peripherals

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*This post has been in my drafts folder for over a year and I think today might just be the day to post it.  

I contend that peripherals don’t matter.  You know, those things in life that are kind of on the edges.  In the margins.  The tiny details.

Like, what we have for dinner tonight doesn’t really change anything.  Sure, some meals make the kids happy and others make them groan but it’s not like it’s world changing either way.

The way we decorate our homes isn’t a big deal.  Families loved and thrived in rooms with wood panelled walls back in the day and I’m pretty sure they still had a decent life.

We (I) give a lot of attention to the peripherals.  I like things just so and meals done right and books lined up from A-Z.  But that’s just me.  Other people work best in chaos and under-the-gun and like their books arranged by colour.

Of course we tote the matra, ‘to each their own’, but really we all like our ways and we think they’re very important otherwise we wouldn’t put time and attention into them, right?

Here’s the thing.  It’s all just peripheral.

The people who I think got this best was those living in Old Testament times.  I know this because I’ve heard them pray.  You know what the did NOT pray for?  They did not pray for safety and they did not pray for health.  They did not pray for their children to be protected or for their wages to increase or for stability.  Peripherals.

They prayed the big stuff.  They prayed for salvation for their families.  They prayed that unreached people would hear the gospel.  They prayed that they would be strong and courageous.  Not safe.  They never prayed for safe!

I find myself getting caught up in the details when I pray.  Pray that person x would get that certain job or pray that child b would do well on their test.  Pray that we would be healthy and happy and skip down the street merrily.

That might be a bit extreme but the point isn’t.  We often get so wrapped up in the particulars when we pray.  In what we want.  In how we want things to turn out.

So what happens when things don’t turn out the way we want?  Well, we get a little frustrated.  (guilty!)  We might even go so far as to question God. (guilty!)  Anger might even rear its head for awhile because this wasn’t how it was suppose to be!

Of course we trust that God’s plan is best.  We know he is Sovereign and I don’t want to belittle these points but when we’re praying for certain situations to turn out in certain ways are we really praying in spririt and truth?  Are we praying the heart of Christ?  Or are we praying our sinful, fallible, easily swayed and so often tempted and selfish human heart?

Those OT guys, they knew how to do it.  Pray for what matters and leave the details up to the one who knows best!

I think this might be my resolution of sorts this year.  Pray the heart of God, pray the scriptures, pray using the example of Jesus and leave the peripherals behind.

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