Well, I have been waiting for this to happen. I knew that in some way I would begin to start understanding more about my relationship with God as I walk through parenthood, so here goes.
When a newborn is hungry they cry out for manna from mom. They have a need, a deep need, that they want filled now. No, not now, but RIGHT NOW. Kind of like us when something is going on in our life and we want God to fix it. We cry out for an answer now, RIGHT NOW. Fix this Lord! This person wronged me, I didn’t get the job I deserve, I want that job, I need money to pay for my things that I think I need, I need money to pay the bills, my spouse doesn’t understand me and needs to change, help John or Jane to find Jesus (as if Jesus is the one lost, not John or Jane, I’m guilty too), etc… (find one that fits you or remember another time when you cried out to God for an immediate answer).
What does the parent do for their newborn? Does my wife sprint to the room while at the same time preparing herself to feed our crying baby and instantly pluck up the child into her arms to provide what she needs? No. One of us goes into the room, sometimes at a quicker pace than others, we unwrap the babe, cuddle her as we move her to her changing area, and then we proceed to change our newborn’s diaper. This sometimes takes a while since our little girl has not relieved all that she wants to at this point. The changing time varies.
In the same way, God does not instantly provide the answer to our prayers that we think we need or that we actually need (there is always an exception to the rule but for the most part this is true in my experience). Often times, WE NEED TO BE CHANGED before receiving the “food” we so desire. If we are changed then the food tastes that much better. We are able to enjoy it.
So the challenge for myself and for anyone who wants to take this post to heart is this: when you find yourself praying about someone else, about a situation that you know is wrong and needs to be fixed, about your spouse, about your kids, about your parents, about your needs for a newer car, a newer house, food on the table, bills to be paid, or whatever it is; then take the time to ask God for Him to change you so that you are able to see how to act and pray better over your requests. Give God time to allow this to happen and above all else, LISTEN! Be still and listen with a heart that is open to counsel from the ALMIGHTY GOD.
I will give an example of something that recently happened to me. Yesterday, I was supposed to meet up with my Little Brother from the Big Brother Big Sister program. I have only been meeting with him for a couple of months and I was wanting to back out of the program. However, I had prayed a good bit before getting into the program about God putting me with who He wanted me to mentor and that He would use me to minister in some way. But at this point I simply wanted out. So on the way to the 12 year old’s home I prayed about it. In the middle of me asking God to help me deal with the situation (about the kid) my prayers switched to praying for the young man, his family (1 mom, five sisters, no dad), and his transition to manhood. I prayed for their salvation as well, as snobby as that may sound it is central to my beliefs so I am going to pray for that for people. I don’t just want them saved though, I want them experiencing the joy of salvation and living a transformed life, a full life.
So what happened? When I got there the young man was in rebellion. He had already physically lashed out at two of his sisters over the past 24 hours and was hiding in his bedroom under the covers, not talking to me or his mom. One of the first things that his mom said was that she thought she was going to have to pull him out of the program. Now, the Boris prior to my prayer time would have probably jumped at this opportunity and said something to the effect of, “well, if that is what you think you need to do then I understand. With a newborn and me starting my Masters next weekend it will probably be best.” But I didn’t do that because God was working on CHANGING ME and MY HEART. After about 45 minutes of trying to talk to the young man, listening to his mother and two of his five sisters, I told her that I was committed to seeing this through and that I was not going to let him get out of the program unless that was what she decided to do. She thanked me for not moving on to someone else and we scheduled another meeting for this Tuesday evening.
I have to wonder about God’s timing. I don’t think that I prayed by choice. I think that my prayers prior to getting teamed up with this young man were being answered yesterday. God knew that my heart was not in the right place and He prompted me to pray on the way to the home. God was working on changing me and when I got there he provided the perspective and incentive that I needed to change.
Now my baby girl is crying and I need to help my beautiful wife out with our precious daughter.
Boris the Illusionist