Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve prayed and prayed (maybe even for years) wondering if God is ever going to show up? Or have you ever prayed for something and your prayer was answered but after all was said and done it wasn’t what you expected?
I’ve been known to come home from a day of shopping and say to my husband “God really wanted me to have those shoes! They were the very last pair in my size!” Every time he shakes his head and says “I’m pretty sure God isn’t involved in your shoe purchases.” Ha, how does he know? How do we know that God actually hears our prayers?
I believe that God hears our prayers both big and small and he answers them in the way that fits into his long term plan for our lives on earth and our lives in eternity. I believe that even unanswered prayers are answered, maybe just not in the way we were hoping for.
A while back, I was feeling restless in my job. I felt sure that God was calling me to do something different. I diligently prayed while doing the leg work required, preparing for a new path. Lo and behold, God put the PERFECT job in my path! It was exactly what I was hoping for. I interviewed for and got the job. I couldn’t believe it! I was overjoyed! I lasted in that job exactly three months before I quit. In the words of Sponge Bob Squarepants “what the barnacles?” It’s the shortest amount of time I’ve ever been at a job, besides my one day at Kmart (whole other story there). I was so discouraged. I was faithful, God was faithful and yet I was unhappy. It wasn’t the ending I expected. However, here’s what happened next. When I left my old company for the not so PERFECT job, my best friend interviewed for and got my old job. She’s still working there! And there’s more…I went back to my old company and took a new job, that meant getting to work with my bestie. Wait…there’s more…the job at my old company led to my current job that I love. Hold on…there’s more…At my current job I get to work virtually, this has taken a huge stressor off of my work life balance. Yep…you guessed it…there’s more…a few years ago (the year before I got my current job) my health took a dipper and my neurological illness got so bad that I couldn’t go out in the cold. God blessed me with a virtual job so I can do rewarding work from home. You have no idea how huge this is. If I was at an in-person job I most likely would have had to go out on disability over the winter months.
So this is all well and good right? Happy ending. Drop the mic. #boomsauce
How about our prayers during the really hard stuff? Serious illness, terminal illness (even worse pediatric terminal illness), divorce, estrangement, broken families, broken hearts, death, accidents, unemployment, physical/sexual/emotional abuse, addiction, abandonment. What about the stuff that might never be resolved during our time on this earth? Should we continue to pray about them?
I’ve been battling a chronic neurological illness since 2001 for which there is currently no cure, yet I still pray for a cure because God=hope. I may never see a cure in my lifetime. Most with my illness get worse as they age. In 2010 I went to a support meeting in Philly and found myself surrounded by people who were living in misery, they were suffering. Many were disabled and could not work anymore. Many were heavily medicated. Some were just crying in absolute despair. A few had tried the option of brain surgery, experienced temporary relief and then felt pain again. After the meeting my husband and I got in the car, looked at each other and were like “well, that sure was depressing.” It’s no wonder they call it the suicide disease. I never went back.
I don’t want to see my future through others eyes, I want to see my future through God’s eyes. I want to remain faithful in my belief that he wants the best for me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Steve Harvey says “your setback is a set up for your comeback.” I may never understand some things that happen to me in this life, especially the really hard stuff. Yet I trust God with my life, in sacrificing his son he set us up for the ultimate comeback.
For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. ~ Psalm 84:11
What battle are you fighting today? Will you allow God to be your sun and shield? Will you trust his direction for your comeback story?