If it is a word from God, it will be based on God’s Word. Any promise God gives will generate peace, not turmoil. If you are struggling or fearful that it may not happen, re-evaluate.
Every promise in God’s Word is a word of knowledge.
God’s words of knowledge
People often ask me if I believe God gives personal promises or a word of knowledge to an individual. I believe he has given a Book full of personal promises to us. Every promise in his Word is a word of knowledge for me. But, yes, I do believe he makes those promises personal in a very real way sometimes. God does occasionally give a word of knowledge, but I think we need to be very careful with this.
I have worked with women, for example, whose husbands had left them. They clung to a “word of knowledge” that God had shown them that their marriage would be reunited. However they struggled continuously as they watched their estranged husband drift farther and farther away. They had no peace in their “word of knowledge.”
Greater than a word of knowledge
I have heard all the teaching of claiming certain things in prayer, being specific, having faith they will happen, etc. There are some things we can claim in prayer. God says he will never leave us and will be with us through every circumstance. We can claim that. God says where two or three of us gather in his name he is in our midst. We can claim that. But one thing is greater than a word of knowledge. That is faith that offers the following prayer:
Lord, I am not going to tell you how to answer this. You know I want my marriage restored. You know I want to be healed. You know I need a job. You know the things I need and want. I come to you with these needs. But I do not ask you to meet these needs in any specific way. I simply lay them at the foot of your cross and trust you to work according to your very best plan for me.
Your way is always best. The thing I fear most is being outside your will and your best plan for me. So I ask you to work, not as I would tell you, but according to the way you know is best.
I am relieved of the need to worry about this because I know the outcome will be far greater than I could ever imagine, though at present I cannot comprehend how it is possible that you could bring something better than saving my marriage, or healing, or financial help, or meeting other needs. I can’t see it but I know you, God, and I trust you for whatever answer you bring forth.
That is the prayer that is always answered exactly as it is prayed. That is the prayer that I have learned to pray and I have seen God truly give me more in every way than I could ever have if I dictated to God how to answer my prayer.
Getting our motives right
The prayer that tells God how to answer, no matter how noble our request, even saving our marriages, is (in my humble opinion) still a prayer with wrong motives. You see, we want our marriages saved for us ultimately. Our marriages fulfill a need that we have. Our motive should be serving God and living according to his plan. That is a higher motive even than saving our marriages. Definitely, God is interested saving our marriage. But his greatest concern is restoring the partners in that marriage. Here is what God says about asking with the wrong motive:
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
This is heavy stuff, but Job learned this lesson. He said: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance!” (Job 13:15-16).
God’s personal promise brings peace
God can and does sometimes reveal things to us, or give us a word of knowledge. But we must be very careful with assuming we have gotten a word from God if it is not based on a promise he has already given us in his Word. There is only one thing we can be absolutely sure of. That is the Word of God, the Book he has already given to us.
There have been times when I have just known that God was working in a certain way. I had peace and could feel his presence so real. It was not a doubtful, up and down experience, but rather a calm knowing. But even those times came because I have a practice of immersing myself in his Word. When those times have occurred, I have seen the thing I knew come to pass. But those times almost always stemmed, if not from a specific promise, from the knowledge of the principles of God’s Word.
But if your word of knowledge is not coupled with peace — if you are continually struggling to make it happen or fearful that it may not happen — then you need to re-evaluate. Any word from God will generate peace for you, not turmoil. It is easy to want something so badly that we believe that surely it must be his will for it to happen. We assume that since it is his will, it is a word from God. Yet God is not held in a box at the mercy of our own desires and ideas of what is in accordance with his will.
Delight in the Lord, not your desires
I speak from experience here. There have been times that I have trusted that something surely must be God’s will and it did not come to pass. I believe to the utmost in holding onto God’s promises of hope and peace and joy and abundance. I believe we can expect specific results in accordance with specific promises. But are we willing to trust God when it seems he is not accomplishing the things we just knew he would accomplish if we turned to him?
It is easy to follow him with the assurance that he will do thus-and-so. But when thus-and-so doesn’t happen over a period of time, we easily become discouraged. I find it much easier to follow him knowing that he is always at work to accomplish the very best with my present circumstances. I trust his judgment, not what I see as the best thing to do.
Some will say that is a cop-out, that it is easy to trust when you don’t have anything specific to trust in. But I have very specific things to trust in. For example I do not trust that God will force any individual to do what is right. But I do trust that God will give them every opportunity as I pray for the person and commit my heart to being what God says to be in the situation.
Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Lots of people have used this to say that we can have whatever we want if we “delight in the Lord.” They are not wrong. But the problem is they misinterpret what it means to delight in the Lord.
Delighting in the Lord means we delight in his will, not ours. We delight in him more than our husbands. Yes, we are to enjoy our husbands. But they are not to be our major fulfillment. God is. As long as we delight in God, we can lose everything else and still have the greatest desire of our heart, for our desire will be the treasures we receive from God – treasures of peace and joy and the knowledge that we have a God who can see us through anything.
Should we give up hope for our marriage, then? No. God can do anything. Pray and trust God. Believe him. Base your life on the promises in God’s Word. We may fail our husbands and they may fail us, but God will never fail!
Financial problems? Faith and finances is next.
Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted