Our home of exactly 3 weeks has a gas fireplace insert. It was one of the things that enticed us to put an offer on this particular home, and you can imagine our disappointment when the previous owners didn't leave the remote control for the fireplace.

Now you likely already know that most gas fireplaces do not have remotes. We, however, didn't know this, for the only gas fireplaces we've had any experience with have all had remotes, and when the message finally got back to us a week later that the fireplace had no remote, we were upset.

Big problem, right?

Not really, and I get it. Not being able to turn on a gas fireplace is nothing compared to the trouble you are facing at this very moment. Who cares about fireplaces when you or a loved one has just received a bad diagnosis? The remote becomes pretty unimportant in the face of homelessness. Unfortunately there aren't any remotes for cancer or heart problems. There isn't a "button" you can push to alleviate relationship problems and rebellion. And nope. No quick fixes for world hunger and poverty, persecution and natural disasters either...

We decided then that there must be a different way to turn on the fireplace; and so we searched for over a week, trying everything we could think of to make that fireplace come on. It was to no avail. Despite our every effort, the only flame in the firebox was the pilot light. Shouldn't there be a simple solution?

In much the same way, we seek solutions to our real problems. We seek counselling. We look for a second job. We read how-to manuals. We go online and search out the newest and latest home remedies for whatever illness that we or our loved ones have been diagnosed with. We may even go so far as to give to the many agencies who feel the hungry in the world. And all of these things are good things to do, and our efforts may actually have some small positive response. No matter how hard we try, however, the problem does not go away entirely. If only there were some simple solution!

Two weeks after our move, our son from Waterloo came home for Easter. He is our local "go to" for technical problems, and immediately he had the fireplace working. We were amazed, and the obvious question was immediately forthcoming: "What did you do?" We were expecting a long and complicated response, something along the lines of pushing this button while turning this other one; so we were both amazed when he said, "I flipped the switch!" Sure enough, there was what appeared to be a light switch in the controls part of the fireplace, and one flick of a finger was all it took...

To say we felt a bit "dumb" was an understatement; however it all made me think: What if there were a simple "switch" that we could turn on to resolve all of the true problems in the world?

Of course, there isn't. But there is something just as simple that we can do: We can pray. The Bible teaches: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16 NIV). If you know Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour, you have the breastplate of His righteousness at your disposal (See Eph. 6:14, Is. 59:17). All you need to do is don His righteousness--accept it as your own--and your prayers become "powerful and effective".

James also teaches that we don't have because we don't ask: "You do not have because you do not ask God." (James 4:2 NIV). Jesus tells us something similar: "...how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask?" (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

But wait. Maybe you are praying but your prayers aren't being answered. Here are some other "switches" that you can flip:

1. Don't forget the first part of
James 5:16: We need to pray with a clean heart. We need to confess our sin.

2. We need to ensure that we are asking with right motives: "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 NIV)

3. We must ask in faith, without doubt: "But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6 NIV)

4. We must also consider that perhaps our timing isn't the same as God's timing. Can we simply believe that His timing is perfect? Remember: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

Whatever burden you are having to bear at the moment, don't seek solutions on your own. Instead, humble yourself before the Lord and ask. And don't forget to confess your sin; ensure you are asking with the right motives; ask in faith, ever believing even when you don't see results; and understand that it is God's timing, not yours.

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "
Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.