Monday, April 23, 2012

The Most Difficult Prayer

And we're back.  I had a hard drive failure.  Made it difficult to post new blogs.

Anyway.

Have you ever tried to make demands of God?  Sometimes, I pray as though I can just order Him around like He is a genie put in place to grant my wishes.  For the last couple of weeks I made such demands of God.  Nearly every day, I made the same selfish requests and got more and more frustrated when God didn't respond the way I ordered Him to respond.  How arrogant is that?

Then, I finally gave in a little.  I demanded a sign from God if His answer to my request was "no."  The sign showed up as soon as I got home from praying.  I figured it must have been a coincidence if I wasn't getting my way, so I repeated the whole process again.  Like Gideon, I got the same answer.

I wrestled with God over this for a while.  I reasoned with him about how it would be better for everyone if I got my way.  Suddenly, these crazy thoughts started to pop into my head.  Thoughts of how things would be if God gave in to my demands.  It wasn't pretty.

Then, I had a disturbing realization.  It's not like I didn't realize the repercussions of my requests from the beginning.  I just wanted to pretend I didn't realize so that I wouldn't feel bad about demanding that I get my way despite the consequences.  It turns out, I can be pretty selfish, but I don't want to admit it.

While still reeling from the realization that I am selfish and imperfect, it came to my attention that I had spent more time in prayer over this selfish request than I had spent in prayer over the course of the last year.

Stunned silence.

Apologies.  I'm sorry God.

Humility.  I was so wrong.  I'm so sorry God.

Then, I prayed the most difficult prayer.  Not my will, but Yours be done.  And I meant it.  Because God didn't answer my prayer in the way I wanted.  God answered my prayer in the way I needed.  This time, I needed a no.

God can definitely give me what I want, but He doesn't always do so.  Sometimes he does, but not always.  As long as we are flawed human beings, we are going to sometimes make selfish requests that can either hurt others or drive us further from God.  I don't think God grants such requests.  I find it quite aggravating to deal with spoiled children.  I can't imagine God allowing us to be tainted by evil (no matter how "small" the amount of evil) through answering prayers that will draw us away from Him.

God can definitely give me what I need, and He always does so.  This even happens if the thing I need is the complete opposite of the thing I want.  So long as I am willing to humble myself and put His will above my own, I always wind up realizing why He responded the way He did.  Sometimes it takes a while, but I am eventually reminded that God really does know best.

In this situation, I quickly realized that God really does know best.  From the beginning, this wasn't about what I asked God for.  Maybe that's why I haven't told you what I asked for; because it really doesn't matter and would only distract from the story.  This situation was about something much bigger.

This was about my reaction to the realization that I am not who I should be.  God forced me to deal with this head on instead of taking an easy way out.  His way worked out much better than my way would have.  It put me exactly where I needed to be.  I realized how broken I am.  I remembered how desperately I need God.  I remembered what it means to become a Christian.  To follow God.  To give my life to Him.

This realization rearranged my skewed priorities.  I have been spending time with God every day since then.  I don't know how I drifted away from making this a priority, but God did put my priorities back in check for me.

And every day, I try to pray that most difficult prayer.  Not my will, but Yours be done.  Show me where to step, and I'll set my foot down right there.  Because I realize something.  God sees way more than I do.  He has a better idea of what needs to happen than I do.

I should never stop bringing my requests to Him.  However, like any good parents, He is sometimes going to tell me no.  Because He knows better.  And I'm okay with that.  Because He doesn't always give me what I want.  But, He always gives me exactly what I need.

Not our will, but Yours be done, Father.