The Road Less Traveled
We live in a culture of instant gratification. I can order almost anything with Amazon Prime and get it two days later. If I don’t know something, I can look it up on my phone and get an answer immediately. I sometimes expect the same thing in my prayer life forgetting that God doesn’t work that way. There are times when I pray, when I don’t just hope for but expect an immediate response. It’s kind of like when I go to the gym (on very rare occasions), come home, and go check myself out in the mirror expecting to see a 6-pack and some swole biceps (I haven’t seen either… pretty much ever).
Last week, my wife and I celebrated the first birthday of our son, Ryan. As you know, we lost him on March 2, 2016 and his sister on December 7, 2016. With both of them, but definitely with Ryan’s sister Reagan, I prayed constantly for their health and well-being. I prayed that we would get to meet them soon, but not sooner than we were supposed to. I prayed that they would be healthy, smart, and God-loving. I prayed with excitement for all of the joys I would get to experience with them. I expected an immediate “yes” from God. Instead, twice in the same year, we suffered heartbreaking losses, and this was despite not only the prayers of our family, but of a very supportive community.
How does this happen? If we have a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, why did our prayers for our little babies not get answered in the way that we wanted? It’s especially difficult knowing that Jesus said:
Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
If all we need to do is ask, why do prayers, like those for our babies, not get answered with a resounding, “Yes!” People lose faith over this verse all of the time. It’s tough when we so often ask God for things that we don’t receive. Sometimes it’s obvious because God won’t give us stuff that isn’t good for us, but how can that be true for our babies?
My prayer lately has been to understand His plan and to bless us with a baby when the time is right. However, what I have learned from all of this is that we are often not aligned with His plans for our lives. If God’s plan for us is a single road that leads us to Him, sometimes we’re on a different but parallel road heading kinda sorta in the same direction. (When we sin, we’re heading in the complete opposite direction.) When we are on His road, we only ask for and desire the things that He wants for us and is ready to give us. When we’re on the parallel road, things are just slightly off, but every now and then, we hop over to that perfect road, ask for something, and get that “yes” we so greatly desire.
In this year of heartbreak, I have learned that my prayer should be for God to help me to only desire what He wants for me, when He wants it for me. Is He still all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving? Of course! My prayer has continued to be for a healthy baby, but more importantly, I have been praying, “God, help me to want what you want me to want in my life.”
Don’t be discouraged in prayer. Don’t be discouraged in your attempt to have children. All that is good is of God. Don’t let any loss blind you to His goodness. It’s easy to think of God like Amazon Prime and let our losses cause us to cancel our membership, but God isn’t Amazon. I had a friend say, “God is God, and I am not. God is God, so I don’t have to be.” Let’s let God be God, persevere in prayer, and hope and pray that our path aligns with His, so that when we ask, it is given.