Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Answered Prayers

One thing I have definitely learned about God over the years, is that He thinks much differently than I do and nearly always answers my prayers in a totally different way than I had intended.  Wow, Lord, that's NOT what I meant!  I have become cautious of praying those "dangerous" prayers!  For example, I am careful of praying that God will give me patience, because He doesn't send it as a neatly wrapped present floating down on a cloud! He sends it in the form of a difficulty or trial in my life, through which I will develop patience.  Sigh.  Boy, I would sure prefer the neatly wrapped present.

Years ago, in a moment of prayer when I was worshipping and praising God, I thought about our home in heaven that He is preparing for us, how awesome that will be and how amazing it will be to worship the Lord right before His Throne!  We are just visitors in this world, but our true home is in heaven and I longed and yearned and ached for that home and the perfection of being with the Lord and my loved ones  in that perfect place.  I poured my heart out to the Lord about this longing.

It would seem that He is answering that prayer in the form of my cancer, that may be sending me to my heavenly home sooner than I would like and not at all according to MY plan.  DANG, Lord! That is not at ALL what I meant! I was praying for Jesus' return to rapture His Church and take us home to be with Him.  THAT would have been so much easier than this path you have set me on instead. But I will still trust you, because you are GOD and you love me and you know what you're doing!
 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
I have learned that walking with the Lord and trusting Him is not just asking Him to bless the plans YOU'VE made, but being attuned to HIS plan for you.  It's so easy to quote that handy verse that says God will give you the desires of your heart. Hooray! That means God is like a giant vending machine and I can just ask Him for anything I want! Wrong! As you grow closer to Him, He changes your heart and the desires of your heart to better align with His desires.

I have learned not to take God's promises out of context, because they are often smack in the middle of other important instructions for me:
"Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it." Psalm 37:3-5
One of my favorite old songs has always been Garth Brooks' "Unanswered Prayers." The lyrics always strike a melancholy chord in me and make me look back at my life and think about how God has answered my prayers in different ways than I had asked.  I DO, however, think that Garth got the lyrics wrong -- there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer -- they are simply answered differently! I'm so glad God is the "planning committee" and not me! It's an ongoing lesson in trusting Him!

Enjoy a listen to Garth, but modify the lyrics as you sing along....... "Differently Answered Prayers!"

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