“It is enough to ask only the Father.”
This was the life motto of Amy Carmichael, who spent most of her life as a missionary in India. I learned about Amy Carmichael at the monthly Women on Mission meeting at my church. I’ve been immersed in the study of missions throughout my entire life thanks to the mission-minded church that I grew up in. Mt. Zion Baptist Church has a missions program for all ages. When I was a preschooler, I was in Mission Friends. I can still smell the home-made playdough that Mrs. Tammy let us help make. Then, as we built churches with our playdough, she told us that missionaries were people who told others about Jesus. From Mission Friends to Girls in Action as a child, to AcTeens as a teenager, and then on to Women on Mission, I have spent the majority of my Wednesday nights since I was little learning about missionaries and their work. But no missionary’s story has ever impacted me as much as Amy Carmichael’s did this past February.
I was so affected by her because I realized that I wanted her life’s motto to be mine.
It is enough to ask only the Father.
How many times have I asked God for something but then, instead of waiting for His response, I’ve gone and tried to “help” matters along on my own? How many times have I turned to others for help before asking my Father, who is waiting to provide?
“ ‘Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” Malachi 3:10
Yes, friends, it is indeed enough to ask only the Father. His word says so!
Lately I’ve been drawn to the story of Hannah in the first chapter of 1 Samuel. What a story she had to tell! Hannah longed for a baby of her own but “the LORD had closed her womb”(v.6). What could she do? There were no specialists, surgeries, or pills to take. Hannah turned to the Father. The Bible says that “Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly”(v.10) and then “the LORD remembered her…Hannah gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the LORD for him.’”(v.19-20). Even in her distress and despair, even when she had waited so long that she was weeping bitterly, Hannah went before her Father and trusted in Him to provide. And He remembered her.
I want a faith like Hannah’s. It wasn’t a feeble faith, based on circumstances. It was a complete faith, a complete trust in the Father, even when she had to wait.
See, that’s when I run into trouble with myself. It’s the waiting. I’m not good at that. When I ask God for something, and nothing happens, I tend to think that’s His way of saying no. But what if, instead of saying no, He’s whispering wait? His timing is so much better than mine (I mean, it’s perfect…that’s MUCH better than mine!). His ways are higher. His wisdom is never-ending. His love is boundless. If He says to wait when I ask, it’s because what He has in store is so much better than what I could even imagine!
So this past February at Women on Mission as we learned about asking only the Father, we were asked to write down our petition to the Lord and seal it in an envelope. We would pray daily to the Father about what was on our card. We would trust Him, and only Him, to provide for the need or desire on our card. Here’s what my card said.
I’d been in a state of unrest for weeks over all of these new words and songs and ideas that the Lord has inspired in me. I wanted to share them! But I wasn’t sure how to make the time to share. I wanted to find places to share and people to share with (poor Chris…he gets to hear me share daily and he always listens and never complains!). And then there’s the matter of my disposition. I’m not necessarily what you’d call a “go-getter”. I’m more of a “come-to-me-er”. So I asked God for opportunities to share. I also asked Him to give me the courage and confidence to take my opportunities when He sent them and use them for His glory.
Now, Hannah asked for a child and I asked for opportunities. My request seems kind of small compared to hers, doesn’t it? But that’s the great thing about my Father! What’s big to me is big to Him. Nothing that concerns you is too small for His concern. It is enough to ask only the Father. He will respond.
So I trusted Jesus that night and decided to wait on Him for opportunities. And what a relief it was to give it all to Him, fully trusting that He would provide! You know, when you’re waiting on the Lord, knowing He’s going to provide in His way, it takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders. Each morning you can wake up with fresh expectations and excitement about what He will do and make available for you.
I asked God for opportunities. He has provided every day since I asked. A friend to listen to a new song, a church or group to share with, a verse or two (or three or four) about waiting for Him, and a time to write new words and songs. He has provided friends who are also writers that I can share with and learn from. He has even provided opportunities to meet and learn from some great writers and heroes of mine. People I would have never dreamed that I’d get to meet, much less learn from. He has undeniably opened up the floodgates of opportunity. Some of the sweetest opportunities have been with my own children. He has opened up pathways to conversations with my boys about living in His will that have been so rich and rewarding.
And I wonder if the opportunities were there before and I didn’t notice them because I hadn’t asked and trusted for them?
Do you have a need or desire today? Nothing is too big or too small to ask only the Father for. He’s waiting to open up those floodgates and show us how sweet it is to trust Him! This is an ongoing part of my story, and this is my song. Take a listen!