I prayed but God didn’t help
This week we are writing about when our prayers aren’t answered after our 21 days of praying and fasting. It can seem like it was all for nothing; getting up at 5am to be at church before 6am. Praying over others’ needs and beseeching God for your own. But no time spent with God is wasted.
For 5 years, twice each year, I had one primary prayer: “God, release me from my job and allow me to stay home with my children.” When that answer seemed to be “no,” I modified my request. “Allow me to have a part time job so I can be there when they get home from school.” God said “no” and so did my husband.
I became angry; quietly, passive aggressively angry, at everyone, including God. It became my favorite topic to bemoan with friends and acquaintances, my unfulfilled desire.
But this year was different. The eyes of my heart finally saw that His answer wasn’t no. It was, “Sweet daughter, I have something infinitely better for you and your family.” My problem was that I saw the answer to my prayer only the way it was in my little brain. There couldn’t possibly be any other options. And our God is so much bigger than that. He means it when He says His thoughts are not my thoughts and my ways are not His ways.
On the 20th day of our January 21 days of prayer and fasting, I was finally able to surrender to whatever God had planned. I asked for forgiveness from God and my husband for my selfish self-focused attitude and behavior. They were both gracious in their response.
It seems that no matter the evidence to the contrary, we more often than not put God in our brain sized box. And no matter how many times we hear “God is bigger,” we still limit what we think He is capable of.
I don’t see yet all the fruit of God’s “better” for me. But the constant conversation with Him and those He sent my way kept me close to Him. I think if I had gotten my way I would have become too comfortable. And God reminds me daily that my comfort is not His concern. He wants my character to be more like His.
So, I’m taking my ‘if only’ regret and turning it into a ‘what if’ possibility. This semester I’m leading a small group using Mark Batterson’s book “if”. What if God has been preparing me, not punishing me? It feels like He is about to show Himself mighty this year. Join a small group this semester and meet with people who will celebrate the victories and the setbacks. God uses it all for His glory. Selah…
Your turn. What have you discovered about God in “I’ve got something better” answers to your prayers? About yourself? We’d love to hear your story? ~ Andrea