In The Living Room with Jesus

Bowing at Bethlehem

magiThis past year has certainly been a time where life has forced me to my knees often. I have developed an unexpected illness which made it necessary to leave my job and am now living with chronic pain. Thankfully, because of the wonderful heritage of strong faith in the Lord I received from my parents and grandparents, I have learned to kneel pretty quickly in times like this. While I don’t often kneel physically, I am and will choose to have kneeling as an attitude of the heart.

However, more recently, God is teaching me that while kneeling is important, what I do from that position is the key. There are two actions that lead us to kneel; begging or bowing. I see this confirmed even in the Christmas story. The Magi are seen kneeling twice in the story, first before King Herod and then before the baby Jesus. In the first instance they were simply begging for directions but in the latter they were giving of themselves and declaring the worth of the one they were kneeling to.

I must admit, a lot of my time kneeling has been spent begging. I find myself using the word “please” over and over in my prayers; “please, make me better so I don’t have to miss that event”, or “please fix this situation so I can be more comfortable”. Too often it was done using a tone of voice that sounded like a spoiled child begging her parents for candy.

Now I know that asking, even begging in prayer is very biblical; Jesus says “ask and you will receive” and also “you have not because you ask not”. The Psalms are full of prayers that sound like begging and even a ruler in the book of Luke named Jairus knew that the first response to seeing Jesus was to fall on his knees and beg. We even see Jesus before he went to the cross on His knees asking “take this cup from me”.

The problem that God has been revealing in my life is that I often stop at begging instead of going to the better reason to kneel and that is to simply bow. Just begging has often left me feeling no joy or peace and, as a result, I have found my life full of disappointment. What I am starting to practice now, especially during this past year’s events, is to spend much more of my time bowing.

Bowing means that I am learning to turn my “please God, make me better” to “God, you are better”; my “God, please fix this.” to “God, I will fix my eyes on you.” And maybe I can begin to be more like Jesus and turn my “take this cup from me” to “not my will but yours be done”.

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