Stop Asking The Universe For Help
by Leslie Vernick
Last night I woke up in a panic about some things going on in my life. My first impulse was to pray, which was a victory because my usual default mode is to worry.
As I began to pray I was struck with the wonderful reality of a personal God. Someone who I can pray to, who gladly hears my night terrors, my worry list, my insecurities, doubts, and feelings of overwhelm.
Today we often hear people use the term “the Universe” to reference a cosmic benevolent force out there somewhere who will bring you what you need in the moment. I’m glad I don’t have to pray to the Universe. I talk to my Father who is in Heaven. His name is holy.
One of the most freeing lines in the prayer Jesus taught his followers to say is, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Frankly, most of the time I don’t know how to pray. If I pray for this good thing to happen or this bad thing to go away, is that what’s best? Is that what I or my loved ones need the most?
I have learned that there are just as many temptations and distractions in experiencing the good things in life as with the bad things. When life is good I’m tempted toward pride, and self-sufficiency, sluggishness in prayer and lack devotion to God. I’m distracted by pleasure and comfort and opportunity and I’m not always conscious that my heart has lost its first love.
I have also learned that there are treasures in darkness. When trials and troubles abound, I am riveted to prayer. I feel helpless and humble and small. I am very aware of my need for God’s help, both in my inner life and my outer life. Even in the darkest moments he teaches me to “fear no evil” for his presence is with me. These lessons I would never learn in the light or when things are going well.
To surrender the outcome of my prayers and petitions to God’s will is comforting. I don’t know what’s best in the moment or for the situation but he does and I can rest in his sovereignty to bring that about.
So friend, I hope you don’t talk to Mr. or Ms. Universe whoever that is, but you have a personal relationship with a living, loving God who invites you to call him Abba, Daddy (Romans 8:15).