There is a prayer I prayed that I was not ready to have answered. I don’t know what I was thinking, what I was anticipating, what I expected. I suppose I wanted a gentle nudge. I wanted the Holy Spirit to guide my hand while I sat comfortably in my pajamas, journaling, to reveal the answer.
Be careful what you pray for.
I don’t know when I first felt convicted that there were parts of my heart that needed exposing, in order for me to move forward in the Lord’s plan for my life. I can’t remember when I first offered up the tentative, yet authentic, request that God make my heart known to me, to refine the pieces that still had sharp edges, to highlight the parts that hid in the shadows of my sin; but I can tell you just exactly when he answered it…
It was when I had my meltdown (read about that tiny bit of crazy here).
And what did I do when my faithful and loving Father honored my request?
I got mad.
I prayed and prayed and prayed that He would reveal the broken parts of my heart to me, and then threw a tantrum and refused his help when He did. I asked for him to improve me, and then stomped my feet over the way He chose to do so.
There’s just one little problem with the way I reacted: God is God and I am not.
In fact, I dare say our remembering this fact would do us well in every aspect of our lives, through every inevitable challenge, amidst all of the chaos that goes on around us. God is God. We are not. We do not know best. We can not make demands. We will not change his mind. We were not created to be little individual mini gods.
God is God and I am not.
And while the control freak in me twitches a little over the idea that I literally can not control anything that isn’t approved of or ordained by God Himself, the broken, incapable human in me breathes a sigh of relief. Hallelujah Amen! I don’t have to be a god!
“Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven…”
The thing is, we also have great reassurance in one of my most favorite verses, Romans 8:28:
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
God causes everything to work for good. If we trust God, and we know the bible to be God’s truth, then this little verse reminds us of something we’d probably rather not focus on as Christians…as selfish sinners. If He must cause things to work for good, that means there will be bad things to endure to get there. If only good things happened, he wouldnt need to work them into good things. They’d all be good. We’d all be good. None of us would need to call on Him nor grow beyond what we are. Good would be good.
But that’s not the way life goes. And, though God doesn’t cause anyone to sin or do wrong, He allows people to live with their own free will. And when someone hurts you, He will use that to remind you to put your hope in Him. When someone lets you down, He will use that to demonstrate His faithfulness. When someone betrays you, He will use that to glorify His steadfast trueness.
When circumstances break you, he will use that to reveal the parts of your heart that need refinement.
When you have emotional meltdowns, he will use that to answer your prayers.
I think we forget that we’re not here for God to do our will. We’re here, on this earth, to glorify Him and further His Kingdom. God is not our servant, our genie in a bottle. I cannot pray “Lord, show me my weaknesses” and then tack on “but only show them to me in a way that I would like and which would require no real need for you in the process of them being revealed.” He is not here to serve our purposes, as is a common misconception if we were to truly look at our own prayers and our own reactions when things don’t go the way we want them to. We are here to serve his purposes.
You pray a scary prayer, you may get a scary answer. But my friend, it is so worth it.
Every conflicted, emotional, scary second.
Can you remember a time when God answered your prayer in an unexpected, mostly undesirable way?