Text Size: Zoom In

When God Withholds


Ronn aka “Blue” Aldaman

In Haddon Robinson’s booklet on The Lord’s Prayer, he quotes from George MacDonald’s comment on Luke 18:1. The section that Haddon quotes ended with the thought, “God withholds that man will ask.” I thought the quote was so thought provoking that I went back to the original source and am copying what I found here.

“What if he knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of himself? What if the good of all our smaller and lower needs lies in this, that they help to drive us to God?

Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer. Our wants are for the sake of our coming into communion with God, our eternal need.

If gratitude and love immediately followed the supply of our needs, if God our Saviour was the one thought of our hearts, then it might be unnecessary that we should ask for anything we need. But seeing we take our supplies as a matter of course, feeling as if they came out of nothing, or from the earth, or our own thoughts, instead of out of a heart of love and a will which alone is force, it is needful that we should be made feel some at least of our wants, that we may seek him who alone supplies all of them, and find his every gift a window to his heart of truth.

So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask that we may receive; but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God’s end in making us pray, for he could give us everything without that: to bring his child to his knee, God withholds that man may ask.” (George MacDonald: Unspoken Sermon Series; Volume Two)

I hope you find these thoughts from a 19th Century author as helpful as I did.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+30 rating, 30 votes)

75 Responses to “When God Withholds”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    In talking with a new friend years ago about looking to Jesus for her needs and peace, she taught me something very simple. When she wants to talk to God, she just does.

    I have heard many people use Scripture verses as a prayer and of course children as well as the rest of us learn what is called the “Lord’s Prayer”, but I think the best prayers are just as my friend suggested, just talk to him.

    No one can convince me that when God withholds we are pleased or satisfied or even content. What I can believe is that one of two things will happen you either keep asking or quit altogether.

    It is in those times when a person gives up that we are to step in and pray for them, support them and love them all the more.

    Have any one of you ever just been too tired to pray and so just give thanks and expect God will do all that you need today anyway? I know I have.


  2. jeff1 says:

    Yes I have been but it was during a difficult time in my life and my son’s so I asked a lady in her 90’s whom I visit when I started voluntary work if she would pray for us. She was a deeply religious woman as I had learnt on my visits. Having been through what she had her faith amazed me. When she was just 4 year of age her father died of his war wounds. Her mother was now left widowed for the second time. There was 3 of them and her mother took in an unwanted child and took care of him. There was times when her mother had plenty and also times when they were wanting. After when she got married her husband fought in the war and was taken prisoner and spent 2 years in a concentration camp while she raised their daughter. Eventually he got home and family circumstances left her bringing up 2 children who where not her own. On top of this she worked as a housekeeper and made clothes and knit for family and friends. She had been born with a disability not full use of her arm and her daughter had the same disability. In later years after her husband died she had bowel cancer and had a colostomy and then again had a lump removed from her face. She told me every morning before she got out of bed she would say this verse and also carry out the movements with her arms.

    Wide wide as the occean, high as the heavens above, deep deep as the deep blue sea that’s my saviour’s love , I thought so unworthy still am a child of his care, for his love teaches me that his love reaches me everywhere.

    She told me how God had been with her in all of those difficulties and I suddenly realised then that is what faith is, knowing God is with you in your difficulties. I believe this lady taught me a lesson in faith for I wanted my difficulties to be removed but she was telling me that God is with me in my difficulties. Her prayers for me and my son were answered and I knew why this was a lady that knew the meaning of faith, what I had was hope but her faith took me beyond that. She is 95 this year and had to go into a nursing home, I visit her regularly and she still inspires me. It shows how God puts people in our pathway when we need it for I was feeling very low at this time in my life.

  3. bubbles says:

    A sad, life changing event happened to me when I was a young child. To this day I am not the same person I would have been had this not occurred.

    When I was little, I would ask why every day. I would pray and ask God why. No answer. As I grew up, I began to think one day I would get an answer one day, maybe this event happened to help someone else in a similar circumstance. So I waited for “that one event” that I could help someone. I reasoned that when I get to Heaven that I will have the why answered there.

    Then one day about 25 years later something happened something happened that helped me understand that my need for knowing why no longer mattered. What came to light was the event happened. It could not be changed. For whatever reason God allowed it to happen, and even if I am not given an answer to they why when I get to Heaven, it’s okay with me. Maybe when we are in Heaven, all of the whys here on earth will fade away. I know that God is greater and His thoughts and ways are higher than mine. If I never find out why, it’s all right. And when I let go of the why? questions, I had great peace about the event. I am resting in God’s care.

  4. swwagner says:

    Very Good Post…I will be thinking about this a lot today. With so much suffering in the world, this topic has been on my mind a lot lately. George McDonald ties a few things together for me. Thanks for sharing!

  5. tracey5tgbtg says:

    I read this quote through about four times prayerfully trying to absorb the words. MacDonald starts off asking “what if?” when there is no what if about it. It is so. Prayer is the thing we need first and foremost. The main object in God’s idea of prayer IS supplying our greatest need which IS himself.

    Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; He gives us wants so that we will draw closer to Him.

    Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me. Psalm 50:15 Such comfort in this verse. He will deliver. He has delivered. It is finished. I always felt that verse was telling me that days of trouble came simply so I would call upon God.

    Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. When God is our one true delight, the desires of our heart are for His will alone to be done.

    If we see prayer as a means of telling God how things are with us and thanking Him if we like them, and telling Him how we want them fixed if we don’t like them, then we miss the purpose of prayer. Of course, I know we can say anything to God, He knows what is in our hearts even more clearly than we do. He knows what we are thinking, He knows what are earthly wants are.

    When I was young, and knew everything, ;-), I went through periods of depression and anger. My main question to the universe was: “Why was I even born if I just have to die some day?” Job 3:11 (Actually, I think the whole chapter 3 of Job is just a drawn out way of Job asking “why was I even born?”)

    I remember listening to a CD of hymns that my mother-in-law gave me. One of the songs said, “the reason I live is to worship you” over and over. And while singing that, I was overwhelmed with peace and relief. The reason we are born is so that we may have the privilege of worshiping God.

    I read over my comments and they sound so preachy. I never can seem to convey what I feel in my heart when I pray.

    The title of this post is “When God Withholds.” Yes, we should go to God in prayer when we feel He has withheld something truly important to us. But I think we will find, in prayer, that He has withheld nothing from us. He has delivered us from our sins and made a way for us to be with Him. What is more important than that?

  6. joycemb says:

    Yes Mart I find G. McDonalds thoughts very helpful. I can see my whole life flash before me as I think about what he is saying. I have always been searching for God since I was a little girl, praying then and throughout my life for God to change and heal a psychopathic parent. I had to look back more than once and ask, why didn’t you stop the abuse? Haunted by dreams and flashbacks, it seemed God was all I had. And of course He has always been enough. When my flesh starts aching, crying out for what others have; wealth, success, love, that’s when I get in trouble. I do it to myself. But through it all He has never forsaken me. He is truly Wonderful. And He also answered my prayers for my family when both parents were in their 70’s. Mission accomplished with prayers beginning from the mouth and heart of a helpless little child. Just like the Bible says.

  7. street says:

    Dad is wise and faithful. He withholds things to bring out a better outcome. He knows we have been going to others instead of to Him for things. prayer is a humbling event. it usually transpires after we have tried everything else. yes, in the beginning they are desperate prayers, but i look forward to the time they are a communion of great everlasting joy.

  8. street says:

    i found this today in knowing God. it’s by john newton

    these inward trials

    i asked the Lord, that i might grow
    in faith, and love,and every grace;
    might more of His salvation know,
    and seek more earnestly His face.

    i hope that in some favored hour
    at once He’d answer my request,
    and by His love constraining power
    subdue my sins, and give me rest.

    instead of this, He made me feel
    the hidden evils of my heart;
    and let the angry power of hell
    assault my soul in every part.

    yea more,with His own hand He seemed
    intent to aggravate my woe;
    crossed all the fair designs i schemed
    blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

    ‘Lord, why is this?’ i trembling cried,
    ‘wilt thou purse thy worm to death?’
    ’tis in this way,’the Lord replied,
    ‘I answer prayer for grace and faith.

    these inward trials I employ
    from self and pride to set thee free;
    and break thy schemes of earthly joy,
    that thou may’st seek thy all in me.”

  9. street says:

    i am so glad that God left these jems to find on the way in which previous saints have trod-ed. it reminds us of His faithful patient work to complete and your not lost, but guided all the way.

  10. joycemb says:

    Yes street! I too am so thankful for the great cloud of witnesses that go before and are waiting with the Father for our graduation day when we leave these earthly bonds. Looking back can be bittersweet, but looking forward always only brings a smile to the war-torn heart.

  11. joycemb says:

    Mart thank you for posting the link to H.Robinsons booklet. It is wonderful. I found it very encouraging.

  12. cbrown says:

    An important prayer included within the Lord’s prayer is “God help me!” Followed by the following prayer: “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.” Jesus has promised He will send a Helper and when you then pray Ephesians 6:18a With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit.

  13. cbrown says:

    The above prayer is included in “The 4 Spiritual Laws” pamphlet.

  14. SFDBWV says:

    I would love to copy the entire section on prayer from the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church’s teaching on the subject, but it is just too much reading for most. However reading it reminds me of how connected we all are as Christians in our faith and need for prayer.

    Quoting in part “Prayer is essential to Christian life, Jesus Himself prayed and taught men to pray.”

    “Types of prayer are listed: asking, thanking, praising. We can add lamenting or questioning Him about the conditions of life and the meaning of our existence, particularly in times of tragedy and confusion.” “We find all of these kinds of prayer in the Bible.”

    “Sometimes prayer is defined as a dialog with God. This definition is sufficient if we remember it is a dialog of silence, carried out in the quiet of our hearts.” “Lifting of the mind and heart to God.” “Walking in the presence of God.”

    “The purpose of prayer is to have communion with God and to be made capable of accomplishing His will.”

    “Praying is not merely repeating the words of prayer. Saying prayers is not the same as praying.”

    “Prayer should be done secretly, briefly, regularly, without many words, with trust in God that He hears, and with the willingness to do what God shows us to do.”

    The Orthodox Church has a prayer called the “Jesus Prayer” and is as follows “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” “Of course this form of prayer is secondary.” “It is the power of prayer to bring us to God.”

    I know this is technical stuff and I too love the more personal contributions that have been given, I just felt the need to share this portion of what I have with you all.


  15. street says:

    steve you said,”“Types of prayer are listed: asking, thanking, praising.” reminded me of

    the book of ACTS in prayer,


  16. SFDBWV says:

    Jeff1 your story about your elderly friend reminded me of an elderly lady I had dealings with many years ago.

    At the time she was 90 a widow and living alone in a nearby community.

    I became aware of her need for some help around her house and so volunteered my services in whatever capacity I could help.

    At first I thought her a little eccentric even a little paranoid about her neighbors. She told me the boys next door would throw rocks on her roof to scare her among other things. She had her windows and window blinds closed tight and her house was always too warm. Her only companion was her cat, and cat hair was everywhere as well as other related things.

    She told me an amazing love story of her and her husband. She and he had been together in an orphanage as children and as soon as America became involved in WWI he enlisted and served in combat in the war.

    She told me that while in the trenches he had a vision from God and that God told him when he got home to marry her. So when he returned from the war that is just what he did. They attended a “Brethren” church and she told me constantly of her belief in “holiness”.

    She also told me that radio waves killed her husband and that she called J. Edgar Hoover and told him so. He reportedly told her to keep that a secret and so for over 30 years or more she only told me.

    When I got up on her roof to patch some leaks I found rocks laying in areas on her roof. So it turned out she wasn’t quite as paranoid as I first thought.

    About this time the US was having an issue with Russia over Russia bombarding our embassy with microwaves causing the possibility for leukemia in its inhabitants. So I had to rethink my original thoughts about her being a little eccentric.

    She was an answer to prayer for me, both from my asking of God and more importantly from God knowing what I needed.

    I learned a lot those few years with her, but the one thing I learned the most was not to jump to conclusions and to *listen* to what others have to say with a heart of trust not cynicism.


  17. joycemb says:

    Steve that is such a good point you’re making about not jumping to conclusions. Working in mental health I learned what was delusional thinking, and what was often times brief psychotic symptoms caused by stressors too overwhelming for the individual. So thankful you were there to help that old woman, and jeff1 also for spending time with the elderly saint.

    I learned about the Jesus Prayer through a Catholic monk and have used it many times when there are simply no words that fit the situation. I think the bended knee is what God asks of us more than anything.

    I also learned that when we are praying the Lord’s prayer we are praying for the whole body of Christ. Such a powerful prayer Jesus taught.

    Blessings, Joyce

  18. jeff1 says:

    Steve while I agree with you about listening with a heart of trust, I discovered that there are those who will abuse your trust which is what makes me cynical. Family and friends will say to you, you should have known better than to trust that person and you are wondering how should I have known better and they make you feel foolish for not having discernment about who is trustworthy and who is not. It is easy to say avoid people like this but life brings us into contact with all sorts and I do tend to believe unless I have very good reason not to. I think some are better at knowing whether to trust someone or not and that is in them to know and I am afraid I have been told by my best friend that I am very naive and believes too easily which leaves me prey to those who would be dishonest. I know some people tell white lies that are not that big of a deal but others can and do cause trouble and I hate being stuck in the middle of arguements that could have been avoided if everyone was more honest and put a little thought before opening their mouths.

  19. poohpity says:

    Mart, Haddon’s pamphlet on what is called “The Lord’s Prayer” which he stated more accurately be called “The Disciples Prayer” was really a blessing. It took a couple of days to read because there was much to digest and prayerfully consider about my prayer life.

    It reminded me of what James 4:1-17 NLT teaches. God seems to withhold because those of us who call God father have our priorities all messed up. It seems to be me first then it would follow that everything revolves around that.

  20. poohpity says:

    Trust is a precious gift. We are taught to have a guarded, discerning mind and heart not to be given to those who will abuse it so in that sense it must be earned. I think that is way we are asked to be as Jesus said in Matt 10:16 NLT. I guess the most important part is trusting God above all else then being a person that can be trusted.

  21. street says:

    God ask us to trust Him and not others. being shrewd as a serpent is something i have been pondering for awhile. the innocent part i understand the shrewd part gives me problems. guess i need to learn to be a fisherman. Jesus truly loved those who had a hand in His death, it’s just that some do not respond to Him because they love someone else. John was right when God penned, 1John2:15

  22. joycemb says:

    John 2:23-25 NLT is interesting as far as trusting others go and why we shouldn’t trust others over God. We are human, we fail, I have failed those I love. That’s why I need God. He is the one I can trust and count on 24/7.

    Jesus knew Peter would betray His trust, yet He loved him still and even commissioned him as far as the origins of the church. Naming him the ‘rock’. It’s all about God, always has been, and always will be. He is only trustworthy.

    A favorite Psalm 27:10 NLT shows even David knew where his strength comes from when abandoned. (Though his parents were not able to be with him as he was hiding out from Saul, he still felt abandoned by them.)

    God is the answer,
    God is enough.

  23. poohpity says:

    street, if I understand the wariness of a serpent it is to be prepared for the things that come against us as followers of Christ. Ridicule, persecution, sometimes physical harm, accusations, and rejection and when they happen to be prepared to act in the strength of God knowing our souls will not be harmed, the truth will come out and God’s love will sustain us in that knowledge we can respond like a harmless dove.

  24. jeff1 says:

    I am not sure that this world is ever going to understand that response. I know a lot of Christians who do not believe in responding like a harmless dove as indeed the bible shows. Evil does not come from God so we have to take a stand against it otherwise where would society be. You have heard the saying that evil triumphs because good men do nothing. This world is now responding to terrorists by talking to them and then giving them what they want but that is not necessarly good for society for their demands have not anything to do with God but are for themselves. Israel is the one nation who takes a firm stand against terrorism and that is not surprising as she is God’s chosen nation and has probably the best Army in the world. I don’t believe that is a coincidence. This is a hymn that I hardly hear sung these days and I often wonder why. Onward Christian Soldiers Marching as to War with the Cross of Jesus going on before.

  25. poohpity says:

    I think there is a very big difference in how we act when we are teaching and sharing God’s Word and peoples response to that and fighting battles against terrorists. Sort of an apples and oranges type thing. If the harmless as doves is taken out of context then we might apply it to something other than the war being against Satan and inner evil choking out the will of God in our lives. That is how I understand it about the Lord’s prayer and when God withholds. Mark 4:19 NIV; Eph 6:11-13 NIV

  26. SFDBWV says:

    Jeff1 you are preaching to the choir when you talk about people taking advantage of your kindness. And kindness is what you are showing rather than being naïve.

    I too have been burnt many times by people whom I gave the opportunity to be honest, but I have learned from such experiences not to let them define me, rather let me be a better example for them.

    For they have not lied to me or hurt me nearly as much as they have themselves.

    I will take the hit and God will work on their conscience; even if it takes them a lifetime.


  27. SFDBWV says:

    Joyce I couldn’t count the times my only comment (prayer) to God has been “I trust you Father”, because in the middle of hurt, frustrations and confusion that seems all I can say.

    And trust that He understands all that I didn’t say.


  28. SFDBWV says:

    Street the Scripture you shared with us (1 John 2:15) jarred something out of my thinking; John 3:16.

    If you look under *world* in your concordance there are a great many verses condemning the world and worldly thinking, but they all are eclipsed by this one verse; that God so loved all the ugly in the world that He died for it all.

    Something to ponder.


  29. street says:

    your right steve the cross overrides the curse of the ground and sin. this struggle with evil and God’s grace is real. Ephesians 6:12. remember how the satan uses God’s word against Christ. he does it with us too. God’s grace can trip you up, hard to believe. it happens when there is a little leaven mixed in. paul said were sin increased so grace increased all the more.

  30. poohpity says:

    Steve, I do not think that God so loved all the ugly in the world, He seem to be saying He so loved the people but hates the ugliness they do. (Prov 8:13 NIV; Psalm 97:10 NIV) To be able to identify within ourselves the ugly we do whenever we do it keeps us so humble and grateful for grace. “Forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us” from the Lord’s Prayer. Matt 6:14 NIV; Eph 4:32 NIV; Col 3:13 NIV

  31. poohpity says:

    If our hearts were given over to God like George said, “If gratitude and love immediately followed the supply of our needs, if God our Saviour was the ‘one thought of our hearts’, then it might be unnecessary that we should ask for anything we need.” putting God first would effect how we treat others, what we ask for and the choices we make would be so much different.

    Saying how much others have hurt us we may be concerned more about how many we have hurt. Being grateful for what we do have we may not be so concerned about what we don’t have. Rather than looking how others sin we would look at the areas we still sin because we know that none will ever be sinless but when we put God first we will sin less knowing we have a choice and show grace to others because all mankind was created in the very image of God and if God loves them who are we to do any less.

  32. joycemb says:

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

    That saved a wretch like me.

    I once was lost but now am found.

    Was blind but now I see.

  33. jeff1 says:

    The World has not changed when it comes to people doing ugly deeds. I had a conversatiion with a man who was a different denomination from me, he was catholic and he said to me if Christ came back to the World today he would be crucified all over again. So what difference is this World today to the World 2,000 years ago the faces are different but the environment is not. The governments of the World would probably call him a mad man, they might imprison him or maybe get one of their secret service agencies have him disappear. And what about all the Christians would we be like Peter and deny all knowledge of knowing him to save our own skins. I thought long and hard about this about how we critise the people of that time for their actions or non action and then it suddenly came to me if I needed to know who put Christ on the Cross I should look in the mirror. Does it matter to God whether I am the authorities,a Roman soldier, the angry mob, the don’t get involved, no matter what way you look at it only for God Christ stood alone. What is humanity like today, have we learned anything about God, I don’t believe so but God proved he knew what humanity is like past,present and future and if we are really really honest we fit in there, what is it they say if the cap fits wear it. However, I believe Jesus will return as the Lion of Judah and I also believe God will us from these creatures that we are to what he always intended us to be. Thanks be to God.

  34. poohpity says:

    jeff, I guess the man you spoke of did not believe that what Jesus did 2000 years finished it all forever. A done deal. I just know from my own life there is much work left to do in my heart/mind, for be it for me to even try to look at others and when I do the Lord puts it on my mind/heart “hey are you guilty of doing that too?” Sure does put the brakes on. Walking side by side with others on this journey we all share our humanness and the forgiveness/grace of our God for those willing to accept it.

  35. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    George MacDonald is among the few theologians I can read with an attitude of devotion. He approaches Scripture with a hermeneutic of profound faith and trust in God. Mart, you quoted MacDonald:

    “But seeing we take our supplies as a matter of course, feeling as if they came out of nothing, or from the earth, or our own thoughts, instead of out of a heart of love and a will which alone is force, it is needful that we should be made feel some at least of our wants, that we may seek him who alone supplies all of them, and find his every gift a window to his heart of truth.”

    Have forgotten at this moment who I recently heard say it — but it is the truth — “Some days I simply walk around thanking God for everything I see — saying Thank-You Lord all day long.”

    I am rejoicing in the huge fallen maple leaves so yellow they seem to glow from within on a cloudy, drippy morning. I thank God for the precious rain falling in the West, quenching forest fires by heavenly grace. Still rejoicing in the challenges of discerning the body of Christ in a dark and needy world.

    Blessings all day,

  36. poohpity says:

    jeff, I so agree about today that if Jesus was standing here among us many would not recognize Him just like when He did walk the earth. They called Him demon possessed etc. because they did not know God well enough to see Him as He stood in their midst or understand even His Words. So it would be nothing new.

  37. joycemb says:

    Maru I so agree that thankfulness is my key to keeping on keeping on.

    Today I am so so thankful that it appears the U.S. (according to CNN a few minutes ago) has learned better ways of treating Ebola which Africa doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with. And also that God chose Christians to suffer and survive the Ebola virus to help others with their plasma and to learn better ways of fighting the virus; along with praise of God for His strength to fight. Isaiah 59:19 KJV

  38. SFDBWV says:

    I got up this morning thinking about our subject of either “When God Withholds” or “Why God Withholds” depending on where you see the subject titled on RBC.

    There was something about it that troubled me a little; to think that God would withhold healing or rescue from anything just so we would come to Him in prayer *more*.

    One of the examples that Jesus showed me via Scripture was that He did not withhold when people came to Him for anything, only delayed a couple times, but still responded to their requests positively.

    Without doubt we are told to and encouraged to be constantly in a prayerful fellowship with our Lord at all times and I think that most of us do that of whom are represented here.

    We are also warned that some of our prayers are “amiss” or better said out of order.

    It has been my observation that God does a better job “answering” a request from us that the answer we demand.

    I also agree and so have observed that miracles happen during thanksgiving and praise.

    Maru we have had just over 5 inches of rain this month, I would suppose you guys out there in the Pacific North West get that in a few hours.

    Joyce if I had to pick an OT Book that was my favorite aside from Psalms it would be Isaiah.

    Jeff1 yes the world is a dark and ugly place, which is why we are to be presence in contrast to it. Keep up the faith.

    Thanks to all for positive commenting and encouragements.


  39. bubbles says:

    Israel asked for a king; God gave them what they “wanted” in Saul. Look at the mess that ensued because of that. We need to be careful what we ask for because what if God gives us what we want when it’s not in His will. I don’t want to be like Israel.

  40. street says:

    we have always been impoverished and needy because of our sin. sin removed what we use to be in adam before the fall, not that we ever knew what it was like. moses was considered a friend of God. it is recorded he spoke face to face with God putting aron and mirium to shame. Jesus called His disciples His friends. and now in this age He calls us,adopted,Sons of God. i think this is important because i see my self as more of a wretch then a son so i act more like a wretch than son because i am not acting in accordance to the truth of God’s Word. make sense? my perspective is not correct. a wretch could never keep God’s law, so God created something new. He must increase i must decrease. go boldly to Dad in time of need! oh i forgot about the Bride! hope this helps more than it hurts.

  41. remarutho says:

    Hello All —

    As a rule, Steve, October is very wet here. We are low on rainfall this year, for the Pac NW — 2.89″ of rain so far in this part of the Willamette Valley. Much wetter on the coast — much dryer over east on the High Plains.

    Still I am so grateful for the rain, though this is actually drought. Lived for a decade in the desert, Joyce, so being in this well-watered land is wonderful, and by me this is very wet.

    The Lord withholds the rain for a reason, though I do not believe we fully understand how or why here on the ground. Surely God is calling us to the truth, to repentance and to deeper devotion.


  42. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you all for your comments, have bben uplifted by them, the whole week, a prayerlife is sooo costly, we are being disciplined in it by God.

    God withholds…. The first time I read that was when I read CS Lewis, somewhere he wrote that in the beginning of a christian life, God is very near, speaking clearly, but then after a while, when we are stronger, stronger in faith, that we are a real child of God, and loved in Jesus, then He slowly withdraws.
    I would say withdrawing is also a good word for this Action of His.
    So that we would grow deeper into faith:
    just like a tree, that when the rain is withheld,and the ground turns dry, the tree has to grow longer roots, that go deeper, to get to the water. See, the result is a tree with a deeper root system!
    A tree, better equipped for great storms.

    That you may be rooted and grounded in His love, Eph 3:17, Col 2:7
    that verse means Gods withholding, it is inclusive in that line, how else would our roots grow deep?

  43. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed your comparison of God’s withholding to trees this morning intrigued me, and made me think about what you seen.

    You are right in that once we plant almost anything we are at first hovering over it seeing that it gets the right amount of water and light and if necessary added nutrients, but once it gets going we back off some and let it grow more on its own so that it is strong on its own. Needing less hands on help from us, but never really abandoning it as we continue to watch over it.

    I think that’s a good view of why sometimes God lets us catch up, fed from His last answered prayer to where He is ready to answer our next *need*.

    Thank you.


  44. SFDBWV says:

    Just want to remind all about Philippians 4:4, 5, 6, 7.

    Believe, trust and have patience.


  45. poohpity says:

    As a parent I taught my children to be independent of me so that when the time was right they would be able to take care of themselves and no longer depend on me. I wanted them to be able to think and provide for themselves but always be dependent on God nor longer on me. Sadly in that time of letting them go they also felt that they could let go of God. God seems to allow us to feel like we can go it alone but it is not Him that walks away from us it is us that walks away from Him because we feel self sufficient.

    I did that, became what I thought was self sufficient. I stopped reading the Bible although I still attended church and bible studies and was very busy serving the Lord in many capacities, that was not faith in fact it seemed to be the exact opposite. Faith is total dependence on God every minute or everyday and that is what He seemed to enjoy. A daily fellowship with Him drinking from His cup of living water and His bread from heaven. Relying on Him for everything I would need “daily” hence “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from evil.”

    It is us that walks away from dependence on God. Sometimes it seems to be our pride that promotes self sufficiency rather than God sufficiency. The thinking I can do it all myself and only ask God to step in when troubles come or we want something. I know God wants me to be next to Him every minute of everyday and never withdraw from that dependence. I know that and yet so many times I take it upon myself to withdraw from that intimate relationship to do things my way. The place where I no longer delight myself in the Lord.

  46. poohpity says:

    The first part of the “Lord’s Prayer” is recognizing Gods’ place in our lives, in the world and in eternity.

  47. joycemb says:

    The tree analogy reminds me of what I heard concerning growth and sustainability. If you plant a tree where it’s protected from the wind, the roots are shallow so when a sudden dangerous storm comes along there is nothing to hold it and it topples over. A tree planted out in the open grows strong and deep roots to hold on because of the small storms so when the bad storm comes it’s deep roots will hold it in. Isn’t that just like our faith? If we are protected from the smaller problems how can we have faith enough to handle the really big ones?

  48. joycemb says:

    Pooh I appreciate your transparency this morning. Reminds me of how frail we all are and how we need Christ to make it through this world.

  49. joycemb says:

    Thinking more about the tree analogy, it’s like growing deep in the soil of God’s love. How? The Lord’s prayer explains it all.

    God has truly given us all we need to grow, move, and be in His world.

  50. cbrown says:

    “Discover the Word” is providing clarity to the question from the book of Job.Very good study. Thank you RBC Ministries.

  51. street says:

    we are a fickle plant that needs to be trained properly to grow to produce the favorite fruit the gardener is looking for. when we first start out every thing is new tender close and wonderful as many have already testified to. to be honest i have fallen into the trap of the Corinthians. the plant remembers the early years fertilizer, sun, and the wonderful watering. then as growth started the pruning! that’s not what tripped up the Corinthians. they turned their eyes from the presents and working hand of the gardener and turned to the fertilizer, sun, and the water can. oh how foolish. paul is correct trying to turn their gaze back to Jesus and Him Crucified. hopefully i well get past the stuff and looking for His hand in everything into to seeing Him clearly. thank you Lord for correction and growth, they both can be painful, necessary, and good.

  52. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Dr. Robinson quoting George MacDonald references a story about Jesus beginning with, “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart…” (Luke 18:1) Jesus tells of the widow who continues to petition the unjust judge. Even this ungodly man responds at last to her persistent requests for justice.

    It seems to me Jesus wants us continue to pray to our God who is just and merciful — even when we have given up that anything will happen. If even an evil power broker can respond to a just request, then our great God will always respond to our prayers and fulfill our hope for a good outcome.

    Heard the story of the daughter of an immigrant South American single mom who made a home, fed, clothed and sheltered her four children on piece work sewing (well below minimum wage) in Los Angeles. Her daughter finished high school, finished college and is now headed to law school on a grant. She and her sister and brothers support their mom, who never gave up hope through years of poverty and sacrifice.

    Jesus, after telling the parable of the widow says, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:6-8)

    If the powerless of the world can receive help in an unjust system, won’t praying believers find favor with God, whose kingdom is the true reality?

    This is a wonderful call to faith and prayer to the Judge who is just and always hears our cries.


  53. poohpity says:

    It seems faith is like a muscle the more it is used the stronger it gets when it is not used it becomes atrophied. Self sufficiency is atrophied faith. I wonder if that is what George was speaking of saying first and foremost is our need for God. I also wonder if when Jesus was speaking of prayer that God will give what is good for His children and the last sentence in that teaching was the best thing for His children to ask for was Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 NLT

    Rather than going to God in times of trouble or when we want something, is if we had such a vital union everyday that started with acknowledgment of a Holy God and the knowing that as a child goes to his father we go to Our Father. Would that not be walking in faith, a growing faith that shows our dependence on God and that EVERYTHING comes from Him. Not taking for granted the source of ALL there is in this world comes from Him by Him for us.

    If God withholds something we can still Praise Him. If things are not going as we want we can be content and Praise Him for who He is and we get to have a relationship with Almighty God. We do not know that God is all we need until God is all we have.

  54. street says:

    remember the invitation, “come to Me”?
    when we come, do we come as a wretch?
    if so is it the first time?
    if not, what did we miss?
    i am beginning to see why adoption in the New Testament is so important to understand.

    17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the [a]knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart [b]may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the [c]saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

    He made us sons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not wretchs
    live like a son, like Jesus. we have ground to cover, if the Lord wills.

  55. SFDBWV says:

    Chris I too listened yesterday to “Discover the Word” and began a comment from that base. I erased it as it began to look too much like a complaint rather than an encouragement.

    We have addressed the issues of unanswered questions many times here on BTA, it is not confusing at all why our subjects keep coming back to questions we all have concerning matters of our faith. We will continue to until we have peace about unanswered questions as the only answers we can fully accept has to come from God and when He withholds we remain in limbo depending on our blind faith to carry us.

    That of itself almost sounds as an exercise God forces upon us in order to strengthen us.

    However the death of faith is a very sad thing to watch develop in anyone, as hope fades to hopelessness and is replaced by a longing for death.

    I read a long time ago that Martin Luther did not think the Book of Job belonged in the collection of Books we know of as the Bible. I don’t personally know if that is true, but I sometimes agree and sometimes do not, as there are a lot of other intriguing information found within its pages aside from Job’s troubles. And of course which leads to more questions and more searching for satisfaction regarding them.

    The cycle, never ending.


  56. poohpity says:

    “If gratitude and love immediately followed the supply of our needs, if God our Saviour was the one thought of our hearts, then it might be unnecessary that we should ask for anything we need.” I wonder how much we actually take for granted? We could possess more land than we could ever use, our closets could be filled to overflowing with stuff, we could have a home with more rooms than we need, always have plenty of food, own a car/truck or maybe two, have a spouse or children, be in good physical health yet one thing could be missing and that one thing is where our focus is which causes hopelessness. That one thing causes us to question whether God is really there and question His love. Rather than being very grateful we complain, grumble and whine yes that would cause anyone to feel resentment, depression, anger and all kinds of other negative emotions.

    “But seeing we take our supplies as a matter of course, feeling as if they came out of nothing, or from the earth, or our own thoughts, instead of out of a heart of love and a will which alone is force, it is needful that we should be made feel some at least of our wants, that we may seek him who alone supplies all of them, and find his every gift a window to his heart of truth.” Instead of what we do not have we focus on what we do have an intimate relationship with the One who pursued us even went to get lengths as all the happenings before the Cross then the Cross itself.

    Jesus was so disturbed before this all would take place that His sweat was drops of blood and He pleaded with His Father to take this cup from Him. Paul pleaded with God to remove the thorn that troubled him always only to have God say that His grace was sufficient and His strength would be made perfect in Paul’s weakness.

    David cried out in anguish only to find by the end of a Psalm he praised God for just listening to him and knowing He was there even though he did not feel it. Even since the very beginning all God seemed to want was fellowship with His creation. Prayer that open line of communication.

    I live in a rented apartment almost every item I use for furniture was donated to me, I barely get by with food every month, my son wants to put me in a nursing home cause he does not want to come help me with cleaning because physically I am toast yet God gives me strength. I am so grateful cause I have way more than I need. I know that each inch I take to get something done it is in His strength. When I begin to feel sorry for myself, God brings to mind all I have to be grateful for and He is faithful to me even when I am not so faithful to Him.

    Over the last five years I have lost all those I depended on so that now I only depend on God. The 5 closet people that if I needed something I know they would have helped me. My therapy dog died and I have had 2 hip surgeries and 1 knee surgery. I went through the empty nest with my son’s moving out. So it has been one thing after another and God has held my head up and often my body. More than anything else during this time has shown me His great love and comfort. It was not through abundance that I have felt blessed it was in my great need.

  57. jeff1 says:

    I can tell you Steve from experience that I longed for death but it was out of hoplessness with people and a desire to be with God. I was very depressed at the time but it was because no one around me understood me that I longed for withdrawel from what I seen as a weary world and people around me who could not meet my need.
    I longed for death and I would wake up each morning wondering how am I going to get through this day. Anyone who has suffered physchosis and deep depression like I had will understand what I am talking about. It is in my family my brother suffered with schizophrenia and my mother suffered from extreme mood swings. I would still get blips but as I am on medication I have not had any physchotic eposides for a very long time and am doing much better. My grandmother also admitted to my Dad that she was ready to pass on when she was in her eighties. She lived in what we townies call the back of beyond and was living on her own from my Grandfather had died. My father stayed with her twice a week but she said she was tired and lonely and was ready to die. She was very rational about it for her health was good both physcially and mentally but was weary and ready to be with the Lord. People who become wary of this world do not loose faith in God but desire to be with him which is very different from a hopelessness which comes from having no hope in God.
    It was my faith that aided my recovery but those who loose faith in God are not necessary lost, they believe they are lost but God says nothing will seperate us from him i.e. I take that to mean it will only be temporary and at the end time he will rightify this and not hell itself will seperate us from the love of God which is a very comforting thought.

  58. street says:

    in the Old Testament in all the begets it came to enoch who walked with God and he was not found. i heard a presbyterian pastor say enoch walked daily with God and on their last walk God said it was closer to My house than yours, come to mine. i pray weather we live or die it would make no difference in our position or presents to us. i know there is no difference in God’s eyes. to Him be Glory Honor and love forever.

  59. foreverblessed says:

    It is indeed a comforting thought Jeff!
    This week this Psalm got my attention:

    The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.
    The Lord is good to all, He has compassion on all He has made.
    All You have made will praise You, O Lord;

    Psalm 145:8-10
    It keeps coming back at me, and then I think, does it really say so,
    and yes it does say so!
    What a comforting thought that is!

  60. Regina says:

    Good Evening, All,

    I SO enjoyed reading the comments on this blog topic. Want to give a special “thank you” to Tracey5tgbtg, Jeff1 and street for their comments. Jeff1, I added a little more to that poem that that precious lady use to recite (?) when she was going through trials and adverse situations. Was wondering if she still recites it every morning when she wakes up.

    “Wide, wide as the ocean— high as the heavens above,
    Deep, deep as the deep blue sea— that’s my Savior’s love,
    I, though so unworthy— am still a child of his care,
    And when I kneel down to pray, He always meets me there,
    So thankful for His love, His mercy and His grace—
    Can hardly wait to behold Him— to see Him face to face”

    I LOVE Been Thinking About blog site, and thank you all so much for sharing the wisdom that the LORD has given you! I don’t always have time to comment, but you all are constantly in my thoughts. I strive to make time to (at the very least) read your comments and ponder your words of wisdom.

    Love to all…

    Low to mid 70’s in Texas today.

  61. SFDBWV says:

    Jeff1 I appreciated your candor very much as that is the type of earthy content that makes this blog work and aids each of us in the process of healing some of our pain.

    Our walk with God is not just knowing what Scripture verses to quote, but rather how God is a part of our lives and walks with us through our dark and stormy life.

    I have to believe that when people who have reached that bleakest of moments in their lives when they no longer have any hope that somewhere in the recesses of their subconscious they still reach up as they go down for God to rescue them.

    It may be for them where they have to be before they can finally truly believe.


  62. SFDBWV says:

    I, like many of you, have come to that place where we are very cautious in saying very much more as after we spend time and energy writing when we post we find a new topic.

    However this may be my only opportunity today to be here so I will continue.

    Yesterday was “Halloween”, odd that it was also “Reformation Day” when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Chapel door in 1517 and so began the Reformation.

    We allow for “Trick or Treating” in our community and have an active police and fire department presence out in force along with the kids. No religious connection to the practice only an evening when kids get free candy and us old folks get to see princesses, witches, pirates and this year several representations of the “Grim Reaper”.

    It was somewhat smaller than some years as it was cold (39 degrees f) and light drizzle, but we still had about 50 kids come to our door.

    It was the first year that none of Matthew’s old friends showed up to share some of their time with him and he noticed that with silent disappointment.

    I hope that wherever you are today that someone shows you they care and shares a piece of themselves with you, if not let this comment be a small reminder that someone does care and prays the best for you today.


  63. poohpity says:

    I was wondering if anyone had the time to read Haddon’s pamphlet on the Lord’s Prayer and what were your thoughts on it?

  64. remarutho says:

    Joy to All BTA Friends on All Saints Day!

    Our culture tends to forget that there is no All Hallows Eve without the Feast of All Saints on Nov. 1st. The parade of goblins shadows the festival of light and life.

    We are waiting and watching with those saints under the heavenly altar. (Revelation 6:9, 10, 11) It seems to me we wait for the fullness of life, not death! Thank the Lord.


  65. poohpity says:

    This being the first of November a month that we do “Thanksgiving” I wonder if any of you would like to join me in thanking the Lord for five things each day?

  66. jeff1 says:

    Our minister is not too happy about “Halloween” celebrations, he has stated that his parishioners should not participate in this celebration as it is anti Christian. I seen breakfast television the other morning and 70% of the British public do not want callers calling on Halloween night. Apparently their is constant knocking of their doors and its bigger children looking for money rather than little ones looking for a treat. I remember well when I was a child we used to have callers with ghoulish masks and I would cry and run into the house and my Mum would tell not to answer the door that night as they(she had a specific name for them) were out. It really frightenend me. Around where I live its little children dressed up with painted faces carrying a little basket for their treats always accompanied by their Mum nothing ghoulish or scary and I don’t have a problem with that.

  67. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Pooh – I like your idea of having an attitude of thankfulness. Thinking of things to be thankful for is a definite mood lifter. I’m thankful for this blog and the people who participate. I’m thankful that it’s Saturday and I don’t have to go to work. Today is my birthday. I’m thankful that all three of my children and my husband told me they love me today. I’m sort of thankful to be 50 today. Thank you also, Pooh, for specifically mentioning clicking on the link to Haddon Robinson’s pamphlet on the Lord’s prayer. It was a good thing to read today.

  68. phpatato says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tracey! I’m thankful that you are part of this blog! I so enjoy reading what you have to say!

    God Bless


  69. foreverblessed says:

    Happy Birthday Tracey! I am also thankful that you are part of the blog, and I am thankful for all who are part of this blod, And I am thankful for Mart who is our host! And I am thankful for God who is leading us all, God who redeemed us all, we are free from the kingdom of darkness and we are brought into the kingdom of His Beloved Son!
    We are already there!

    Didn’t know that all saints day was a day to be blessed with more then any other day! In my town the children walk after dark along the houses, and we were asked to dress up a little, with candles, and whatever. It is all fairly new, it was not done in our country, so, I do not know what to think of it.

    Pooh, I read the pamphlet, but that is not the topic, so I may go off topic now:
    I read it till I came to the sentence: History, or His Story: Jesus to come back to this earth..
    …and there I went with my own thoughts, is THAT the reason? Jesus work is all complete, His work is done on the Cross, He is victorious,
    anyway, then I went on to think, that is not a good theme to ponder about.
    I have been brought up in a church who were for one thing doing the most: looking for Jesus’return.
    While now I am in the process of what is most important now, for me: that Jesus comes into me NOW. His Kingdom being made real in me NOW. But that is also what the writer is saying just after that, so yes, it is OK

    The more of God’s Kingdom in me now, the more God can affect others people through me, the more fruit there will be for Him: saved souls.
    Read this Proverb 11:30
    the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and he who wins souls is wise

    Already in the OT there is talk of winning souls! It was like something new to me!
    Before Jesus returns, so many souls to be won, So I cannot pray that He comes now, but maybe I do not know what God wanted to say there.
    I believe God is saying: let His Kingdom come in your own little world. And that is what the pamphlet is saying too in the end.

  70. poohpity says:

    tracey, happy happy birthday and many more! Thank you too!!

    forever, the pamphlet was where Mart pulled George’s conclusion which was the next to last part of it. So I felt like it had everything to do with this topic or Mart would not have offered the link.

  71. street says:

    dear blessed Proverb 11:30
    the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and he who wins souls is wise

    i think the practice of prayer comes about when we focus on Jesus and what He did on the cross. paul talked about this alot, Christ and Him crucified. it causes many things that are needful for us. to understand who God is and what He is doing. it reveals our hearts so we can surrender them to the One who really loves us. and to shows us just how important other people really are to Him. may we never leave the cross. thank you Father!

  72. saled says:

    I’ve followed this topic and comments all week while hoping to get a chance to contribute. The extra hour at home that comes with the time change has given me the opportunity, and if the topic should change right after I post, that’s OK. THIS is the topic I wanted to comment on, and I always enjoy getting in the last word!

    I’m thankful for Mart’s introduction to George MacDonald’s book The Curate’s Awakening this past summer. The 19th century writing was a struggle for me, but MacDonald’s view of God that was woven throughout was worth it. MacDonald appears to agree with remarutho’s last comment above: “We wait for the fullness of life, not death!”

    I love the quote from MacDonald that Mart has made the centerpiece of this topic, especially the analogy between us going to God in prayer and a runaway child returning to his mother. “He needs his mother more than his dinner.” says it all to me.

    Early on in these comments, Tracey spoke of the relief she found in the idea that we are born to worship God. A long time ago, I read somewhere that worship is how God gives himself to us. It’s not that God is a glory hound, but that in worshiping him, we come to see him as he is, and know that he is ours. Prayer and worship. Two disciplines to cultivate.

  73. SFDBWV says:

    I have read over this subject several times and there is something that disturbs me about it.

    “God withholds that man may ask.”

    Jesus never demonstrated that concept in any of His sermons nor in any of His examples.

    Jesus served and fed and comforted and answered every question, withholding nothing including His Passion and love.

    God has reasons for His delays, but I for one do not think it is just to make us beg.


  74. street says:

    dear steve who begs for what is present or what they already have? He did not demonstrate it because He did it privately. He gave us principles of prayer and life. God’s always knows what needs to be done and is working even now when we can not see His hand. prayer might be a practice of just turning back to God because we wandered away. if you pray without ceasing i don’t think you will ever leave His presents. we get so dirty as children so quickly. it’s saturday night everyday.

  75. street says:

    been thinking about when God withhold holds on a grander scale. God uses words like son father friend king shepard wife slave bound servant to describe relationships. relationships that we are in now and we find less than perfect. and He applies these terms to Himself with us. do you think the things that are not can give shape and form to the things that are. we instinctively know what is wrong but not what is good and right till we are taught. and that only comes from the God.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.