Life is hard. Sometimes we realize we have been mad at God for a long time. Maybe we blame Him for our lives not turning out like we hoped. Or wonder where He was when the Bad Thing happened. Maybe we even quit praying, leave the spiritual journey entirely, when our prayers aren’t answered our way.
Maybe—I confess here–even throw a little fit, have a little pity party, when we don’t get our way. It happens. Our flesh continues to want what it wants, circumstances disappoint. Our prayers do not bring what we asked right away.
For a long time, I thought I needed to dream up what was best for me then beg God for it. Slowly, I came to see that is not what “prayer” is at all. Not even a “conversation” at that level. Just begging.
We want to tell Him what to do with our prayers, instead of trusting Him to do what’s best. Which, if we think about it, is like a baby trying to tell mommy how to mix his formula from the crib. Mommy knows what baby cannot know yet. We have to trust God to know more than we do.
Let me tell you about a saint I know from the streets. Born a hermaphrodite– physically, both male and female. Abused sexually and psychologically by a violent father. Diagnosed as Schizophrenic. Lived in mental institutions and on the streets. Now identifies herself as a woman in spite of the stubble of beard and gangly height. Nearly toothless from years of neglect. Yet the Lord is her shepherd. She has a peace and generosity of spirit that is downright holy. And gratitude! Weeps for joy for a favorite song. Prays “Lord, bless us, we love each other” over a hamburger lunch. And the rest of us are moved to tears. Her path in this world has been stony and hard. But she will be one of the “lesser” who will be “greater” in Heaven, I assure you. We are blessed for having known her, having held her hand in prayer.
WANTING is from the FLESH. LOVING is from His SPIRIT.
When I was 2, I wanted to take off the hot plastic pants I wore over the soggy wet diapers.
When I was 8, I wanted the Miss Elizabeth doll with the tiny shoes and purses and bride gown.
When I was 13, I wanted a pink and black motorcycle and matching pink and black outfit.
When I was 17, I wanted a hot pink suede cape. And a boyfriend.
When I was 21, I wanted a job that didn’t scare me.
When I was 23, I wanted to have a big wedding.
When I was 30, I wanted to travel.
Not one of those things do I want anymore. Some were blessings, some stupid adolescent ideas. Some were fulfilled, some weren’t. Some made my life better, some nearly tanked it.
I’m just sayin’…we always want stuff. Sometimes we even get it. But we never know what’s best until later.
God’s BEST is “later.” And it is FOREVER.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12