The enemy of our souls first tempted Eve by asking her a question, “Did God really say…” It was a question meant to challenge the goodness of God. It was evil and cynical in nature.
A cynic is a faultfinding captious critic; especially one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest. (source – Miriam Webster.com)
Cynicism is to prayer what cancer is to the body. It eats away at the very life of the person it embodies. A cynic is suspicious of everyone and questions the motives of what makes them do what they do. When we apply this to our prayer life, the cynic actually questions God – like the serpent in the Garden.
These are hard words to hear. Yet many of us if we’re honest, will admit our prayers are often hindered by our cynicism. We pray and our prayers seemingly go unanswered, so we think to ourselves – why bother? Why get my hopes up just to see nothing happen.
In his book, A Praying Life, Paul Miller talks about this:
Cynicism begins, oddly enough, with too much of the wrong kind of faith, with naive optimism or foolish confidence. At first glance, genuine faith and naive optimism appear identical since both foster confidence and hope. But the similarity is only surface deep. Genuine faith comes from knowing my heavenly Father loves, enjoys, and cares for me. Naive optimism is groundless. It is childlike trust without the loving Father.
When you said “I Do,” you most likely had naive optimism. The wedding, the honeymoon, the first apartment – it all was so much fun. But when reality came knocking on your front door everything changed. Naive optimism suddenly switched to the dark side. It is only genuine faith in God that is able to continue moving the marriage relationship forward.
Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Faith is hard. But God is good. And whether we can see what He is doing or not, doesn’t negate the fact that He is present in your current situation. Let our labor be in fighting the good fight, not in fighting your rights.
Paul Miller continues,
“As my friend Cathie reflected on why [such a sudden switch] is true in her own life, she observed, ‘I make the jump from optimism to darkness so quickly because I am not grounded in a deep abiding faith that God is in the matter, no matter what the matter is. I am looking for pleasant results, not deeper realities.”
God is using every situation, every hardship we face to draw our hearts and minds closer to Him. He desires for us to tell Him our trouble through prayer – conversation – day and night, without ceasing. But in doing so, we must resist the temptation to be cynical. We must guard not only words, but our thoughts as well. We are called to help guard our spouse too. Let’s work together to keep our faith genuine and our growth in godliness ever maturing.
One day we will see our trouble from a different perspective. Today, however, we simply must trust in God who is good.
This is post #4 in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in October.