Sometimes I pray crazy prayers. Prayers that I mean at the time but then later I wonder…
What was I thinking?
Three years ago I prayed a crazy prayer. At the time it made sense to me, I had just went throughout the hardest thing of my life. I was devastated and tired and weak and defenseless.
I have a theory about sin. I believe that when temptation meets weakness we are most vulnerable to get caught in the trap of sin. And when my husband of nearly 20 years left and I found myself a single mom of four teenagers I knew I was at my weakest. I also knew the greatest temptation I could face in that season would involve a man. So, I prayed a crazy prayer every day, several times a day, for months. God, make me invisible to men. Don’t let them notice me or talk to me until my heart is healed and You think I’m ready to date someone, and until You are ready to bring the right person to me. And if you want me to stay single then that’s okay too.
Here’s the problem…. God listened… and did what I asked. And it’s getting annoying.
At the time when I begged Jesus to make me invisible it wasn’t annoying. It was wise, and protecting and safe. I knew that my lonely heart couldn’t handle the temptation of a relationship and that I had a lot of work to do before I would be ready. That answered prayer was freeing. I promised God and myself that for a year I wouldn’t even think about dating but would instead focus my energy on my kids’ healing and my own healing. And I did just that. Through counseling, mentoring, a tribe of friends, and lots of hard self examination, journals, and prayer. At the end of year one I realized, I’m still not ready. So I committed to another year. Prayed sincerely again the prayer of invisibility and continued slowly down the path of healing.
But now… now I have days when I wonder if Jesus forgot about me.
You see, as far as I’m concerned, my heart is healed and ready for adventure. So, I find myself tapping my foot and checking my watch wondering why God hasn’t removed the cloak of invisibility.
When I first prayed that prayer I meant it with every fiber of my being. So what’s changed? Do I no longer want God to protect my heart? Do I no longer think that His plan is better than my plan? Do I no longer think that I am susceptible to temptation? No. All of that is still true. But I’m no longer thankful that God heard and answered my prayer, I’m now frustrated that God heard and answered my prayer.
So what’s changed? The only thing that’s changed is time. Time’s gone by. More time than I think should have. I prayed a simple prayer and trusted God completely and totally to answer that prayer in whatever way was best for me and my kids, He did, and now that more time has gone by then I think should have I’m grumpy about it.
God seems to have a habit of allowing long stretches of time to pass before He shows up. Just the other day I was reading about Sarah and Abraham and the years they waited for their promise. I have it confess, I was more than a little irritated with Sarah when she got Hagar involved instead of just being patient and trusting God.
Almost every single day I ask God to order my steps. To lead me and guide me and unfold my story as He wants to, not as I want Him to. But I’m just like Sarah, questioning the slow, twisting path He has me on.
Do I want God to make me “visible” to the perfect man? Yeah, maybe. But what I really want more than anything is to trust Him. To trust Him when I’m weak and when I’m strong. To trust Him when the promise is new and fresh and when it’s gathered dust and nearly forgotten. To trust Him in my today, and my tomorrow, and my next week, and month and year. I want to trust His timing as much as I trust His love.
I don’t want my trust to be based on convenience or desperate need. I want to trust Him when it’s inconvenient, when it’s long, when it’s hard, when the seasons are dry with no rain in sight. I want to trust Him then. Not to answer my selfish prayers, but to order my steps. All of them, not just the easy ones.
It’s hard. When more time has gone by then we think should have. Hard to hold on to the promise. Hard not to take matters into our own hands. Hard to trust that He still has a plan. But He does. He does. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that truth.
He has a plan. He has not forgotten. We can trust Him… no matter how long it takes.