"Critical" is a fairly significant word. Not the version where we feel compelled to judge others, but in the sense of something of importance, something so substantial that we would potentially be devastated to be without it.
Air, water and food are obviously the most critical substances on Earth that we need to survive - but what about being connected with our Heavenly Father? For our eternal existence, I’d say having repentance and a solid connection with God is indeed critical.
But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
I was once told that the link between us and Heaven is prayer. So, if staying connected with the Trinity involves the power of prayer, then it would make sense that prayer is to play a critical, pivotal role in our lives, too.
But what happens when adversity comes? I'd like to share a story from my life.
Today, the hitch pin connecting my Farmer’s tractor and digger busted apart. Farmer is seated inside the safety of the tractor cab, while looking out the back window, watching the digger bouncing back down the hill, finally, and with lots of grace, settling into a ditch where it lay disconnected, with hydraulic hoses ripped and broken.
For anyone who has not towed or hauled an implement or trailer, the hitch pin is the great connector, the most vital piece to keep a machine and the pull behind equipment as one. For such a vital instrument, it has the simplest of designs -after all, only being a metal cylinder with a handle at the top to easily push in and pull out of the hitch.
When our four year old ‘Little Farmer’ heard about Daddy’s misfortune, his first concern was that Daddy was not hurt – “But he might have been hurt”, he insisted. Well, Farmer was safe and was mainly concerned about the possibility that the digger could have come to rest in a family backyard or even crashing into a home.
“The two have to stay connected to stay safe”, I told our Son, the words tumbling out of my mouth before I could even thank the Holy Spirit for placing them there.
Staying Connected. Connected in Prayer.
So simple, yet somehow I tend make it so very difficult. Why can’t I seem to stay connected to my Father – through prayer-filled connection to Heaven? I see the importance of that metal cylinder in keeping two giant machines as one, yet I continue to lose sight of the importance of staying consistently and purposefully close to God.
The digger is useless without the tractor leading it to the place it belongs. The similarities with Christians and prayer are striking.
Of course I know the longing and thirst on those days when I feel least connected to God and on those days that go by and I don’t even notice the lacking – those are the worst. The enemy sneers at my tumbling into the ditches, my arms flailing as I fall backwards into a fearful unknown.
But our Father, He never leaves us. He has a desire to stay connected with us. Not just following closely behind, but in front and alongside of us – always guiding, nudging - a humble backslide, allowing Him to rescue us and pull us out of the darkness.
To Be Made New and Hope-Filled
My Farmer devises a MacGyver plan to use bolts and elbow grease to come to the aid and reunite the once connected and useful machines. He finds his way back onto the road - the digger ready to plow up the old hard soil into loosened, yielding dirt, awaiting a new seed to be planted.
My Little Farmer placed ‘feeling words’ along with what happened to Daddy today: scary, dangerous and sad. Comparably, those simple words from a four year old seem to be the exact feelings I experience when I abandon my connections with God.
So stay connected.
Be intentional on knowing how critical prayer is in your life. Shame the enemy back to his ditches with the power of Jesus’ name – that power that we are given when we cry out to Him.
Stay connected - stay close to Him.