You Better Be Able to Handle an Answered Prayer
God is so funny. Really, He is. I mean, we can and should be reverent and obedient, but we also have to remember that if God gave us humor, surely He’s the master comedian. But like any other joke, God’s humor is dependent on the audience “getting it,” and the more I pray and work on my relationship with Him, the more I am equally awed by and anxious about what He’s going to come up with next.
The thing about prayer, especially prayer where you’re asking God for something, is that He will answer you, but not always with the answer or in the way that you expect. I have learned this the hard way more than once, and to be honest, when I realized it, my prayers started to be really conditional and, frankly, stupid. “Ok. Lord, You know I need to be more patient, right? And I want You to strengthen my patience, but if You can do that without making me wait too long, that will be great. But I also know that my mind cannot even fathom what time is for You, so when I say not too long, I mean, ‘not too long’ in my mind.” I imagine God sitting on the throne in heaven doubled over with laughter at my attempt to control Him.
Then, I realize that I need to be brave and have more faith. “Lord, teach me to love my neighbors and be more patient with them.” Bam! That’s it. That’s all. I’m feeling good because I have learned that God is not my puppet, and the “faith” demonstrated by a non-conditional prayer proves I’m on the right track. Then God sends that parent to the school. Yep, you know the one I’m talking about: the one whose sole purpose seems to be to make me lose my religion. She ain’t lovable, y’all. She ain’t even semi-likable from a distance. And here I am standing in the midst of the purest, most ridiculous drama saying, “For real, God? You hit me with this not even an hour and a half after I get off my knees? I see how You do me.”
But I’m committed to getting this right, so I say, “Lord, I want to have more faith in you. I want to walk boldly and bravely in Your Spirit. Not my will, Lord, but yours be done.” This time, though, I am cautious but ready to take preemptive action. I don’t know where my tests are going to come from or when. So I’m praying A LOT. Listen, I’m talking about running to the bathroom, bagging up the garbage, kissing my husband praying. I’m reading Scripture like the world’s greatest, page-turning romance novel, trying to get ready for whatever He’s going to send. I’m running late for work because I’m watching sermons on YouTube. I’m making my husband watch excerpts with me as we pillow talk at night about our day. I’m listening to Christian audiobooks as I cook or drive to and from work or sit for long baths. I’m writing little sticky notes with encouraging Scripture and posting them around my office to look at when times get hairy. I’m avoiding talking to people who I love but will distract me from my purpose. I’m listening to gospel music at my desk. I’m even turning it down low but still audible in meetings. I’m not worrying about offending someone with it because they just don’t know that right now their feeling offended cannot trump my obedience. All of this is because I just don’t know when something is going to pop off, and I want to be, I need to be, ready.
So I’m back down on my knees and I’m saying, “Lord, I don’t know when you’re going to send the test…,” and He cuts me off.
“Those tests have been coming fast and furious, but because you’re keeping your mind stayed on me, you haven’t had time to worry about them.” And I imagine He’s laughing contentedly because for once, I’m getting it, and I laugh, too.
“All right. I see you God. I hear you. Now, let’s talk about…”