Read His Words Before Ours!
I prayed for a husband for years.
I waited as my friends fell in love. I celebrated at their wedding receptions, rejoiced over baby announcements, and clicked ‘like’ as baby bump pictures chronicled pregnancies. The pictures then shifted to first steps, first days of school, and so many other milestones . . . while I continued to wait.
In the midst of the moments of rejoicing, heartache existed, too. Even as I prayed for my husband, I watched other marriages fall apart. Parents or children were lost through the finality of death. Other relationships persevered through challenging circumstances, and growth took place as time marched on.
As I waited, I continued to ask for my husband in the Lord’s timing. Sometimes, I succeeded in asking with a healthy mindset, motivation, and heart posture, while other times, I failed miserably. Regardless, the Lord remained faithful, and I learned how true surrender to the Lord’s plan improved both my prayer life and my everyday life.
The Lord invites questions, but I have discovered a fine line between asking and attempting to strike a deal. Here are a few key lessons I am grateful the Lord has taught me through the years.
1. It’s about the Giver rather than the gift.
During the season of waiting, the more I focused on my desire for my husband and bargained with the Lord, the more I lacked peace.
With the valuable gift of hindsight, I can see how the Lord acted, for my benefit, to lovingly deny my pleading requests. What I wanted most was a husband; what God wanted most was my heart’s full attention and surrender. When I sought Him, the Giver (rather than pleading for my gift), He graciously supplied peace with His quiet “not yet.”
My sadness and tears were consistently met with the Lord’s tenderness. (Psalm 56:8) He taught me to trust His heart over mine as He held me close. There in the ache of waiting, I fell more in love with the Lord as He shaped my heart and lifted my gaze to my true Gift, the Giver Himself!
Whatever you’re tempted to bargain for, God’s desire is for you to know HE is your full satisfaction and delight!
“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:17)
2. Ask with wisdom.
Assessing our heart posture and motives are critical when we bring our requests to our Father, who loves to give generously. Though an often-painful process, it teaches us to seek wisdom as we pray. When asking for my future spouse, my self-assessments revealed I pleaded most intensely when loneliness seemed strongest.
I would love to say I consistently asked with a surrendered heart, but that would be untrue. Instead, I sometimes let my emotions rule my prayers, thinking I could evoke the response I wanted from the Lord. But prayer is not a business transaction, and these prayers lacked a willingness to submit to God’s wisdom.
When emotion and fear take the lead, they send us blindly stumbling off the path of God’s Wisdom.
Therefore, let us begin our prayers by first seeking wisdom.
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
3. Receive with grace.
The Lord is faithful. I do not always understand His ways, but I do know He has a plan and purpose far better than mine. His answer may be no, it may be wait, and sometimes it is even yes. Whatever the response, receiving His answer with grace has consistently proven to be in my best interest.
Waiting is not easy. Surrendering to wisdom is not easy. Yet both are necessary to receive the sweetness of His fullness.
Whatever you’re praying for, set your heart on loving Him more than the answer you’re after. He is the better.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the wealth of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of His strength.” (Ephesians 1:18-19)
Nearly a year into my marriage, I can already see how the Lord’s choice for me is far better than any storyline I had written in my mind over the years of waiting.
Attempting to strike a deal with the Lord accomplishes little more than robbing our peace and diffusing our joy. We can’t use religious language or even Scripture to outfox Him, manipulate Him, entrap Him, or buy Him off.
When we’re nakedly honest, we realize our prayers of
“If You would just . . . then I PROMISE I will . . .”
are wild, heartbroken efforts to offer anything to appease a God we feel is stingy. We simply have no power to hold the Lord hostage.
When we willfully grasp the truths that He needs nothing from us and loves to give us good gifts, our bargaining position evaporates.
Let’s fix our gaze upon His tender, Father’s heart for His beloved child. Let’s bring Him our desperation, our loneliness, and our fear. Let’s admit, “If You don’t . . . I am afraid . . .” and allow Him to fill the void of our inability with His faithfulness, provision, power, and love.
I encourage you (and myself!) to continue to be satisfied with the Giver over the gift, to embrace His wisdom, and to trust His grace at work in our lives while we wait for Him.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!