March 24, 2018
No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions.
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God. (Ezekiel 37:21-28)
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God told believers He would “deliver them” and “cleanse them” so that they would be His people.
Ezekiel spoke those words over 2600 years ago. Yet today idol worship, abominations, transgressions, and apostasy are alive and well. People hardly seem “cleansed.” Which may lead us to ask the question, “Did God fail?”
Faith-filled people have learned over time that God is not one to simply hand His children things. He is first and foremost a loving teacher. He knows that when we learn and do on our own, we are invested; we have “skin in the game.” St. John Paul II included in his prayers: Teach me, lead me, guide me to Jesus. God could snap His fingers and “deliver” us and “cleanse” us, but chooses to lead us and guide us instead.
There is a scene in the movie Evan Almighty in which God (played by Morgan Freeman) teaches Evan’s wife how to deal with her impatience: “When you pray, don’t pray for patience. Instead, pray for opportunities to be patient.”
Don’t pray to be cleansed, pray for opportunities to cleanse yourself. Don’t pray to be delivered, pray for opportunities to deliver yourself.